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DEAN WITTER AND NATIONSBANK TO LAUNCH PRIME OPTION MASTERCARD

 NEW YORK, Nov. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Dean Witter, Discover & Co. and NationsBank will launch the Prime Option MasterCard, a co-branded product, which offers consumers a range of financing options which they can tailor to their individual needs.
 The co-branding program between NationsBank Card Services and Dean Witter allows for the national launching of the Prime Option MasterCard early in 1994. NationsBank is the issuer of the card.
 As part of the agreement to launch this program, Dean Witter and MasterCard International have agreed to settle the current antitrust litigation pending in the Southern District of New York concerning the application by two Dean Witter affiliates to join MasterCard.
 The Prime Option MasterCard will provide consumers with value features that include no annual fee and three competitive financing options. Customers will receive a no-interest 25-day grace period on purchases and cash advances; a low-interest 9.9 percent rate on current and previous month's purchases; and traditional interest of prime-plus 9.9 percent on older purchases. Additional features include skip-a-payment, billing-date choice, and 24-hour customer service.
 Under the terms of the settlement, MasterCard and Dean Witter have agreed to dismiss their pending litigation, exchange releases covering the claims that they have made in the litigation, and require no cash payments to be made by either side, as part of the settlement.
 Visa's appeal of the decision in favor of Dean Witter in a separate antitrust case is not affected by this agreement. But under the terms of the agreement, two of Dean Witter's subsidiary banks will receive MasterCard membership if Visa loses the appeal.
 Alex W. "Pete" Hart, president and chief executive officer, MasterCard International, said: "This is a win for MasterCard no matter how you look at it -- we and our members are released from any potential damages regardless of the outcome of the Visa appeal, and if Visa wins, our decision regarding MountainWest's application for membership remains in place."
 Mr. Hart added, "This is an excellent outcome for our members: we've stood firm on our membership principles and co-branding rules; we and our members are released from any potential damages; and NationsBank, a longstanding member, owns and controls the program in a manner that is entirely consistent with our rules."
 Philip J. Purcell, chairman and chief executive of Dean Witter, said the Prime Option MasterCard "offers low interest costs to consumers and will have a significant impact."
 "It's a card people will want to use," Purcell said at a news conference at the Waldorf Astoria. "As the name suggests, Prime Option gives people options to better manage their credit."
 Pat Phillips, president of NationsBank Financial Products, said: "NationsBank is proud to be associated with two fine companies -- Dean Witter and MasterCard. We are taking our skills in issuing and managing cards and combining them with the outstanding product and servicing capabilities provided by Dean Witter.
 "With Prime Option MasterCard, we have the opportunity to meet consumers' needs and in the process, serve our shareholders."
 -0- 11/22/93
 /CONTACT: James M. Flynn of Dean Witter, Discover & Co., 212-392-1904; or Mary Waller of NationsBank, 704-386-5469; or Richard Woods of MasterCard, 212-649-5450/
 (S NB)


CO: Dean Witter, Discover & Co.; NationsBank ST: New York, North Carolina IN: FIN SU: PDT

GK-LG -- NY068 -- 6847 11/22/93 13:40 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 22, 1993
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