Countdown to launch credit card
Supermarket chain Countdown is launching a Visa credit card backed by finance company GE Capital, the grocery giant said today - its first step into the New Zealand financial services sector.
It follows the launch of a credit card by Countdown's Australian parent, Woolworths, which has attracted shoppers with an introductory nine months interest-free on purchases and one year waiver of the A$49 ($63) annual fee.
No details were immediately available about the terms or interest rate of the New Zealand card, with a Countdown spokesman saying those would be announced in the coming year.
In Australia, the Woolworths-branded card charges 19.8 per cent at the end of the interest-free period.
Australian shoppers earn rewards points on money spent at the supermarket, especially on the chain's own-branded products.
New Zealand store credit cards offered by the Countdown card issuer, GE, charge higher interest than standard bank credit cards - 24.95 per cent on the Gem Visa compared with less than 20 per cent on most cards.
Countdown managing director, Dave Chambers, said the credit card market was a logical entry point for the supermarket retailer into the financial services sector.
More than 80 million payment card transactions were processed through Countdown stores each year, he said.
GE Capital was chosen as the card issuer following a national tender process, he said.
Rival New Zealand supermarket chain Foodstuffs, which operates Pak 'n Save and New World supermarkets, does not offer a credit card.
In Britain, supermarket credit cards from retailers M&S and Tesco have ranked highly on customer satisfaction compared with banks.
GE said the card was due for launch in the first half of 2013.
- © Fairfax NZ News