News International has pulled its support for The Sun credit card, only a year after launch, because of a very low take-up by its readers.
Only 46,000 of The Sun’s 10 million readers took on the affinity card, say sources, after 60 per cent of applications were refused. The card was heavily promoted in the paper.
The co-branded Mastercard was launched with HFC Bank, which issues the GM Card for Vauxhall. HFC also co-owns Goldbrand with British Gas. Goldbrand issues the Goldfish card, a redemption credit card, which provides money off British Gas and Asda bills.
The Sun credit card involved consumers redeeming points for free copies of The Sun and sister publication, the News of the World.
Ellis Watson marketing director of News International’s tabloid newspapers says: “We were using it for an affinity database and it met the objectives of the day. We are now marketing it to the affinity group and that’s on-going.”
It is understood that the card will be allowed to run down as customers use it less and less.
“The card was ill conceived,” says one source close to the venture. “Affinity cards only work with aspirational brands or brands with a large degree of customer loyalty. The Sun is in neither category.”
The Sunday Times’ credit card is also understood to be under-performing after a slow take-up. It was the first national newspaper affinity card to launch, in March 1994.