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Washington Mutual Launches New Gift Card in Time for The Holidays; Washington Mutual MasterCard(R) Gift Card is Accepted at Millions of Merchant Locations

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 22, 2005--With the holiday season quickly approaching, Washington Mutual, Inc. (NYSE: WM) has launched the Washington Mutual MasterCard(R) Gift Card to provide consumers with another flexible and convenient option for gift giving.

"Prepaid gift cards have become increasingly popular among individuals who purchase them for the holidays and other special occasions," said Doug Marshall, senior vice president of ATM, debit and pre-paid business at Washington Mutual. "We are particularly seeing a growing interest in bank-issued cards, because they can be redeemed wherever the brand debit cards are accepted rather than with a single retailer. In the case of the Washington Mutual MasterCard(R) Gift Card, this literally means gift recipients can make purchases at millions of MasterCard(R) merchant locations throughout the world."

According to the Tower Group, bank-issued gift cards accounted for $3 billion out of $45 billion in total gift card sales in 2003, and sales volume of bank-issued gift cards are projected to exceed $31 billion by 2007, or more than half of the expected gift card volume. ("Market Share Gains Ahead for Bank-Issued Gift Cards?," TransAct, published by America's Community Bankers, Spring 2004).

Easy to order, choice of different card designs

The Washington Mutual MasterCard(R) Gift Card can be purchased online with an authorized debit or credit card. The gift card values are available in whole dollar increments ranging from $25 to $500. Gift senders can choose from six attractive card packages with matching card carriers and presentation envelopes, including holiday, thank you, and birthday designs, as well as other gift giving occasions. Additionally, individual gift cards are personalized with the gift recipient's name and can include one of several pre-selected messages.

Gift cards in the amount of $100 or less can be sent directly to the card recipient, and cards in excess of $100 are sent to the purchaser. The cost for purchasing and mailing a gift card is comparatively low, and the issuance fee of $3.95 plus a $1 first-class shipping and handling charge is paid by the gift card sender at the time of purchase. As a special introductory promotion, the $1 first-class shipping and handling fee will be waived through the end of 2005.

For added convenience, gift recipients can view their current balance on or call a toll-free number, 1-866-912-4610.

In addition to holiday shopping, gift cards are also popular for other lifetime events such as birthdays, weddings and graduation, added Marshall. "In short, they are a great alternative to giving cash or checks, while still giving the recipient a wide range of choices on how and where they can spend their funds."

About Washington Mutual

With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual is a retailer of financial services that provides a diversified line of products and services to consumers and commercial clients. At September 30, 2005, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $333.62 billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,500 retail banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking and financial services offices throughout the nation. Washington Mutual's press releases are available at

About MasterCard International

MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members' credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs. MasterCard manages a family of well-known, widely accepted payment card brands including MasterCard(R), Maestro(R) and Cirrus(R) and serves financial institutions, consumers and businesses in over 210 countries and territories. The MasterCard award-winning Priceless(R) advertising campaign is now seen in 105 countries and in 48 languages, giving the MasterCard brand a truly global reach and scope. For more information go to

CONTACT: Washington Mutual
Mary Kelley, 206-377-6878
Mobile: 206-459-0394

SOURCE: Washington Mutual