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 CNNMoney.com, 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 CardWeb.com. 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 http://www.fnfg.com.
SOURCE First Niagara