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    Giant Eagle Announces New Credit Card Program

    Retailer looks to save customers money at the pump through inside sales.

    PITTSBURG -- In an effort to help consumers offset rising gas prices, Giant Eagle introduced a credit card for Akron area customers that can only be used at its grocery store and GetGo fuel locations. Customers will receive a four cents per gallon discount up to $100 at GetGo fuel stations

    In addition, when customers sign up for the credit card, they will receive an additional $1 off per gallon up to a $30

    "The driver behind this is to help us continue to strengthen the Fuel Perks program," Brett Merrell, Giant Eagle senior vice president of marketing for the private label credit card, told the Beacon Journal. The card will be issued by World Financial National Network Bank and will not be affiliated with Visa or MasterCard networks, he noted.

    This latest campaign is in addition to the store’s loyalty program, Giant Eagle Advantage. The fuel savings for grocery purchases is going up from 10 cents a gallon to 15 cents a gallon. All associated credit cards are issued without annual fees.

    Merrell explained that customers combining the programs can potentially save 19 cents a gallon for every $50 spent in the store while the promotion is active, plus the extra $1 off per gallon incentive.

    The credit card and special 15 cents-a-gallon promotion is available only at 16 Giant Eagle locations in Summit County and some in Medina and Portage counties, Linda Wakim, Giant Eagle director of customer relationship marketing, told the paper.

    "Our goal is to continue to expand this and make it easier and simple. We're not trying to get them to spend extra, but buy things they would have already purchased," Merrell said.

    According to Giant Eagle, customers have saved almost $23 million in fuel over the past 12 months through the Fuel Perks program. Giant Eagle’s Akron-area locations have more than 200,000 Advantage Card holders.

    Gene Gerke, president of Gerke & Associates, a consultant for the grocery and fuel retailing industries, told the paper that a trend is developing where as retailers are offering their own private-label brand credit cards that are not associated with the Visa or MasterCard networks to bypass fees the networks charge on all purchases, such as interchange fees.

    "This is speculation on my part, but by bypassing (Visa and MasterCard fees), they’re able to pass part of that savings on as part of their programs," Gerke told the paper.

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