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
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
For added convenience, gift recipients can view their current
balance on www.wamu.com/giftcard or call a toll-free number,
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 www.wamunewsroom.com.
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 www.mastercardinternational.com.
CONTACT: Washington Mutual
Mary Kelley, 206-377-6878
SOURCE: Washington Mutual