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WESTERN UNION LAUNCHES SECURED MASTERCARD; NEW WESTERN UNION MASTERCARD WILL HELP MILLIONS OF CONSUMERS TO ESTABLISH CREDIT

 UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J., Nov. 18 ~PRNewswire~ -- Western Union Financial Services, Inc., today announced the introduction of the Western Union MasterCard, a nationally available secured credit card.
 The Western Union MasterCard is issued by Associates National Bank (Delaware.)
 Cardholders' funds used to secure the MasterCard account will be held by Citibank (Delaware) in an FDIC-insured, interest-bearing secured account. Applications for the Western Union MasterCard will be available through the company's 18,000 agents, who also will participate in marketing and promotional activities for the new card.
 "The Western Union MasterCard is especially important to our customers who do not have a banking relationship or credit history, or who have had difficulty maintaining credit in the past," said Dan D'Agostino, senior vice president-Western Union. "For these consumers, Western Union MasterCard provides the buying power and convenience of a major credit card," he said. According to Mr. D'Agostino, more than 22 million U.S. consumers are in this category.
 To receive the Western Union MasterCard, consumers must submit a completed application along with a money order, cashier's check or personal check for $250 to $5,000, which is used as security for the cardholder's credit line. The funds are held in an interest-bearing escrow account at Citibank earning annual interest at the attractive rate of Prime minus 1.5 percent (currently 4.5 percent).
 The cardholder's credit line is equal to 90 percent of the funds in the escrow account. MasterCard purchases are not deducted from the Citibank account, but billed monthly by Associates National Bank (Delaware) as with any other credit card.
 "The Western Union MasterCard is the latest example of our commitment to provide a wide range of high quality financial services to consumers nationwide," said Mr. D'Agostino. "The Western Union MasterCard will be accepted at more than 10 million locations."
 Unlike most secured credit cared, the Western Union MasterCard has no application fee. The annual card membership fee is $45. The finance charge on unpaid credit balances is a variable rate of Prime plus 12.9 percent per year, or 18.9 percent per year currently. There is a 25-day grace period on purchases.
 Features and benefits of the Western Union MasterCard include:
 -- Flexible monthly payment options that permit the cardholder to pay the account in full or in low monthly installments
 -- 24-hour access to cash through the Cirrus MasterCard ATM network
 -- $100,000 travel accident insurance
 -- Additional cards at no extra cost
 -- Optional CardCare insurance to protect the credit card account
 Associates National Bank (Delaware) is one of the leading credit card issuers in the country. It is an affiliate of Associates Corporation of North America, part of the Financial Services group of Ford Motor Company.
 Western Union Financial Services, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of New Valley Corporation (NYSE: NVL). It provides Western Union Money Transfer services throughout the world and also provides bill-payment and other services to consumers and businesses in the United States.
 For more information or a Western Union MasterCard application, please call 1-800-368-0208.
 -0- 11~18~82
 ~CONTACT: Warren Bechtel of Western Union Financial Services, Inc., 201-818-5790, or Idan Sims of Sims & Associates, Inc., 212-725-3838, for Western Union Financial Services, Inc.~


CO: Western Union Financial Services, Inc. ST: New Jersey IN: FIN SU: PDT

LR-TS -- NY017 -- 2248 11~18~92 10:24 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 18, 1992
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