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Automotive Credit Cards Guide

New Entry into the Automotive Credit Card Market

Toyota Motor Corporation announced their plans to enter the crowded automotive credit card market. In October, they will launch a new credit card providing auto rewards. The plastic will work similar to other affinity credit cards. The customers will be able to earn points and redeem them for the purchase of a new car, including the 2009 Toyota Prius, vehicle parts, accessories or maintenance. Toyota credit card will be available online.

This fall Toyota will join the wide range of automobile manufacturers offering their own credit cards. The details of the rewards program are still in development. However, it is expected that it will work similar to the Lexus credit card, which gives users 5 points per dollar spent at its dealerships and 1.5 points per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Toyota has already experienced launching credit cards. Since June 2005, its luxury brand Lexus issued 50,000 Lexus Pursuits cards. Due to the fact that Toyota customer base is 10 times larger than Lexus, the company is expecting to snag significant number of customers.

Nearly all major automobile manufacturers have their own branded rewards credit cards. They help them instill loyalty among customers and increase customer retention. For example, Lexus owners with a Lexus-branded credit card are twice as likely to return to the dealership for service. The automakers also save money on transaction fees that they would have to pay if customers used another plastic.

The largest and oldest automotive credit card is the GM Card from General Motors Corp. Launched in 1992, it has been used in more than 5 million transactions. GM Card allows cardholders to earn 5% rebates on all purchases. Due to its success, the company has broadened its credit line and added 2 more offers. For example, GM Flexible Earnings Card allows you to earn points which can be redeemed for the purchase or lease of a new GM vehicle or for cash back rebates.

Chrysler offers credit cards featuring Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge. About half of all customers choose the Dodge card.

Chrysler Rewards Visa comes with rewards program that is not typical for most other plastics. It offers points that can be redeemed for used vehicles as well, along with new cars, repairs and oil changes.

BMW has two credit cards - a BMW card and a Mini card called "My Mini," which allows customers to configure a custom MINI and build their own version of the plastic. You can choose any wheels, bonnet stripes and options you want. BMW and Mini cardholders can use up to $5,000 in card rewards for the purchase of a new BMW. In addition, Mini card lets making $50 donations to one of several national charities.

Mercedes-Benz auto rewards credit cards are held by about 50,000 people. However, that card is designed for Mercedes owners only.

Chase bank offers credit cards for Audi and Subaru enthusiasts. Audi Visa Signature comes with a standard point rewards scheme. It lets you earn 2 points for every dollar spent on purchases at Audi dealers and 1 point for every dollar spent on other purchases. Points can be redeemed for Audi products.

The Subaru Platinum MasterCard pays three Subaru Bucks for every dollar you spent on your card for any purchase. You will get $100 worth of reward coupon once you have accumulated 100 Subaru Bucks. The Bucks and the coupons can be exchanged for spare parts, maintenance, or the purchase or lease of a new Subaru vehicle.


Kyle P.
11:00 PM, June 22, 2008
I think automotive credit cards are great. You can earn points for getting free maintenance of your car. I have Toyota Yaris - so I am loking forward to new Toyota card.
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