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MASTERCARD PLANS TO OPEN $30 BILLION TELEPHONE ACCEPTANCE MARKET TO ALL MASTERCARD MEMBERS; TELEPHONE CALLING CARD AND MASTERCARD CARD COMBINED

MASTERCARD PLANS TO OPEN $30 BILLION TELEPHONE ACCEPTANCE MARKET TO ALL MASTERCARD MEMBERS; TELEPHONE CALLING CARD AND MASTERCARD CARD COMBINED
 NEW YORK, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- MasterCard issuers will soon have a new $30 billion merchant category -- telephone companies.
 MasterCard International today announced plans that would give all MasterCard cards the ability to double as telephone calling cards by the fourth quarter of 1993. Simply by punching in their credit card account number and a four-digit personal identification number (PIN), cardholders will be able to charge telephone calls from any telephone in the United States and Canada, and eventually the world, to their MasterCard cards.
 For MasterCard cardholders, this will eliminate the need to carry a calling card, will add the convenience of combining calling card and credit card changes on a single bill, and will make telephone calls easier to dial by cutting 11 digits from the dialing format currently required by the existing bank card telephone enhancement programs.
 "We have positioned MasterCard as a brand that provides real value," noted MasterCard Senior Vice President John Wright. "Adding telephone acceptance as a core service with easy access to all long-distance carriers translates into a tangible benefit for our cardholders, and provides a clear functional differentiation for the MasterCard brand."
 MasterCard estimates that the new category will gain for issuers at least $1 billion of additional annual sales in the U.S. alone. The MasterCard telephone program will enable MasterCard issuers to offer a telephone program on their MasterCard cards which is superior to programs offered by other brands.
 The telephone companies also stand to profit from the move which expands their market to MasterCard's 93 million cardholders. MasterCard estimates that there are some 70 million calling cards in the United States.
 "This is a win-win-win situation for MasterCard members, the telephone companies, and of course, consumers," said Wright. "We are at a crossroads and have chosen the path that serves everyone's best interests."
 MasterCard account numbers recently became eligible to be used as telephone calling card numbers. The international standard adopted by the telephone industry. This standard allows for expanded numbering schemes, such as those used by commercial credit cards. AT&T will be upgraded to this standard by year end, and Northern Telecom will meet the standard by 1994. AT&T and Northern Telecom provide almost all telephone switches used in the United States and Canada.
 Final details are still being worked out with the major telephone companies.
 -0- 11/12/92 R
 /CONTACT: Richard Woods of MasterCard, 212-649-5450/ CO: MasterCard ST: New York IN: FIN SU:


TS -- NY049R -- 0198 11/12/92 12:54 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 12, 1992
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