Retail giant Asda is planning to launch its Asda Club card in August, and is understood to be close to a deal with Midland Bank to launch a co-branded payment card soon afterwards.
Asda’s Midland Bank payment card will be similar to Tesco Clubcard Plus – a smart debit card offering banking services and interest payment with additional credit facilities. The customer can deposit money by direct debit and receive interest.
The news comes as police are investigating the possibility of loyalty card fraud. According to West Midlands police, smart cards such as Tesco Clubcard Plus are vulnerable to fraud because of easy access to credit card numbers and methods of operating the frauds on the Internet.
Tesco insists it has adequate checks to ensure there is no widespread fraud affecting its loyalty card.
At the same time, Barclaycard is also understood to be on the verge of tying up a deal with Sainsbury’s to launch a co-branded credit card in the autumn.
It is understood that the Barclaycard deal will be aimed at se-curing Barclaycard’s lead in the credit card market, while cheaper competitors threaten on price.
Sainsbury’s customers will gain access to Barclaycard’s Profile Points scheme, a rival to Air Miles. Air Miles are available to Sainsbury’s Reward Card holders (MW June 21).
But unlike the NatWest deal, the Barclaycard or Midland cards will not be own-label cards. According to sources, they will flag the bank brands.
It is understood the Tesco Clubcard Plus card was originally inten-ded to include the NatWest logo.
The Asda payment card may also include the option to offer donations to charities such as Age Concern, Shelter and the National Deaf Children’s Society.
An Asda spokeswoman says: “Our primary focus is on the lowest prices. We have built market share and customer numbers without a loyalty card. We are always looking at innovative ways of helping our customers.”
Asda Club is being tested in 18 stores. One point is awarded for each pound spent, and points can be used to buy products from a special catalogue. Cash contributions are also accepted. Financial services are not included.
Safeway is rumoured to be doing a deal with Lloyds Bank.