Public Bank Bhd has launched its latest credit card – Public Bank (PB) Manchester United MasterCard – in an exclusive co-branding with Manchester United Football Club, as part of its competitive moves in the local credit card market.
It will be the first domestic bank to collaborate with Barclaycard International, Europe's leading issuer of credit cards with 11.4 million customers and 13.6 million cards in circulation worldwide.
Managing director Datuk Tay Ah Lek expressed delight in being able to formalise the agreement in time for the new season of the English Premier League.
“Manchester United is, without doubt, one of the best-supported and most recognisable sports entities in the world.
“The English Premier League has a massive following in Malaysia and to be awarded the privilege to work with the most successful English football club, is a great opportunity,” Tay told reporters after the launch of PB Manchester United MasterCard in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Barclaycard International, which in April last year, secured the global rights to market MU credit cards, is seeking further sub-license deals with partner banks throughout the entire Asia-Pacific region.
Barclaycard director for business expansion Ron Boddy said: “Ideally, we would be looking at securing deals in countries like Thailand, Japan, China, and South Korea by year-end.
“These countries have similar enthusiasm for MU,” Boddy said.
He said potential bank partners would be reputable and sizeable financial companies with “a passion for what they do.”
General manager, PB card services, Chong You Lin said the bank was confident of achieving a take-up rate of 300,000 for the card by 2007, with promotional efforts targeted at some 5.2 million Malaysian MU fans.
The club has an estimated 53 million fans worldwide.
Public Bank has about 350,000 credit cards in circulation in the country as at July 31, up 36% from last year.
“We have between 5% and 8% market share now. Going forward, we expect the take-up rate to be sustainable with the growing population base and low penetration of credit cards,” she said.
Chong said, for the period ended July 31, the bank had recorded a year-on-year increase of 30% in card sales and expected that to grow further in view of the strong economic fundamentals in the country.
She estimated a qualified workforce of six million in the country and a credit card base of three to 3.5 million cardholders, which was equivalent to a penetration rate of about 50% and 60%.