First Niagara Bank Launches 'ScoreCard' Debit Card Rewards Program

Addresses Strategic Focus on Meeting Targeted Customer Needs

May 01, 2006, 01:00 ET from First Niagara

    LOCKPORT, N.Y., May 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- First Niagara Bank is
 entering the debit card rewards market with the launch of a new program
 designed to further address its strategic focus of packaging products and
 incentives to meet the needs of targeted customer segments.
     Called ScoreCard Rewards, the new debit card program offers eligible
 customers the opportunity to earn points for signature-based transactions
 to redeem for merchandise and travel.
     Eligible checking customers will be automatically enrolled in
 ScoreCard. They will receive one point for every $3 in signature based
 debit card transactions, as well as bonus points for opening new savings
 accounts, home equity loans or lines of credit to reward loyalty.
     For First Niagara's ScoreCard Rewards program, there are different
 merchandise redemption levels with various items such as appliances,
 electronics, sporting goods and jewelry. Travel redemption levels begin
 with rental car certificates and go as high as round-trip airfare to
 Australia or New Zealand.
     "We believe ScoreCard presents an excellent opportunity for us to
 reward the loyalty these customers have demonstrated to First Niagara and
 to provide an incentive for future use of their debit cards and purchase
 other First Niagara products," said Michael Giaquinto, First Niagara's
 executive vice president of consumer banking.
     In a research study entitled, "Marketing Debit Cards -- The New
 Reality," Synergistics Research Corporation found last year that almost 50%
 of debit card customers surveyed would increase use of their cards if given
 the opportunity to receive rewards.
     According to, debit card usage has exceeded credit card
 use in the U.S. since 2003 as customers have favored the advantage of
 "paying as you go" rather than piling up on credit card debt. There are now
 more than 234 million debit cards in the U.S., according to
     About First Niagara Financial Group and First Niagara Bank
     First Niagara Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:   FNFG), through its wholly
 owned subsidiary First Niagara Bank, has assets of $8.1 billion and
 deposits of $5.5 billion. First Niagara Bank is a full-service,
 community-oriented bank that provides financial services to individuals,
 families and businesses through 120 branches and several financial services
 subsidiaries across New York State. For more information about First
 Niagara, visit our web site at

SOURCE First Niagara