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VISA TEAMS WITH CATHY TO TEACH CONSUMERS ABOUT CREDIT CARDS

 VISA TEAMS WITH CATHY TO TEACH CONSUMERS ABOUT CREDIT CARDS
 SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Cathy(TM), the immensely popular comic-strip character, couldn't quite get the hang of managing her money, but she was willing to try. And in the end she gets control of her finances in a new consumer education initiative announced today by Visa U.S.A. and Cathy's creator, Cathy Guisewite, who joins the effort as a spokesperson.
 "Cathy deals with everyday issues that people can relate to, which makes her a natural to convey answers to real-life financial questions and the serious message of how to manage credit cards wisely," said H. Robert Heller, Visa U.S.A president and chief executive officer.
 The latest element in Visa's ongoing consumer education initiative seeks to help consumers better understand the value and wise use of credit cards. Cathy, the comic-strip character, demonstrates dos and don'ts of credit card use in 16 original cartoons created by Guisewite for the initiative's "Credit Cards: An Owner's Manual."(C)
 "Inside every devoted shopper, there's a financially responsible person screaming to get out," quips Cathy, which is what consumers told the Gallup Organization in a survey commissioned by Visa last year. A majority of adults interviewed said that they feel unprepared to manage their finances and would like to have more concrete guidance, particularly about credit use.
 Visa's new effort offers exactly that. The 24-page owner's manual, available free by calling 800-Visa-511, deals in a frank but up-beat way with such topics as how to get a credit card, the many benefits of owning one and how credit cards work. The owner's manual is also available through partcipating financial institutions.
 In easy-to-read fashion, the manual covers factors affecting their cost, rules and regulations, and cardholder rights. And for Cathy and all who share her foibles about personal finances, the owner's manual provides valuable tips on how to use credit cards wisely and how to make and follow a budget. The manual also includes a budget worksheet, a "financial fitness" quiz and a directory of consumer organizations cardholders can call for additional information or assistance. Throughout, Cathy helps drive the main points home with humorous antics and comments like, "I made a pie chart of my financial situation, and then I ate it."
 In addition to the manual, Visa is taking its consumer education message to the public with Guisewite and Linda Golodner, president of the National Consumers League, serving as spokespeople. Guisewite said, "On behalf of Cathy and those like her who need to consume a box of doughnuts to muster the courage to open their credit card bill, I am delighted that Visa is taking the lead in consumer education...I hope that people who identify with her impractical approach to finances will study the manual and become more in control of their own financial situations."
 In planning this initiative, Visa tested the concept and content with consumer advocacy groups, member financial institutions and consumers. All three groups felt the initiative would provide "a valuable service" and that the owner's manual met consumers' needs in easily understandable terms.
 This effort ties in with Visa's ongoing educational activities, including two other consumer education initiatives undertaken in recent years. "Choices & Decisions: Taking Charge of Your Life,"(TM) released in 1990, is an award-winning interactive multimedia program on personal financial planning and management for high school students, and "Managing Your Credit Wisely," a brochure issued in 1988 explains the privileges and obligations associated with credit.
 Visa, with 10 million acceptance locations, over 100,000 ATMs and 281 million cards issued, including 142 million in the United States, is the world's largest consumer card payment program.
 -0- 9/14/92 R
 /NOTE: "Credit Cards: An Owner's Manual"(C) Visa U.S.A. 1992 "Choices and Decisions"(TM) is a trademark of Visa International. Cathy(TM) is a trademark of Guisewite Studio./
 /CONTACT: Dave Brancoli, 415-570-3830, or Mary Coady, 415-358-2517, both of Visa U.S.A./ CO: Visa U.S.A. ST: California IN: SU:


GT-RM -- SF003 -- 9103 09/14/92 11:21 EDT
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Date:Sep 14, 1992
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