FINANCE

Starbucks launches prepaid card—with a rewards twist

BY Marianne Wilson

Starbucks Corp. is making it easier for consumers to accrue points in its loyalty program.

The coffee giant and Chase are launching the Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card, the first general purpose prepaid or debit card for which consumers can earn earn “Stars” for purchases outside of Starbucks. The new card is integrated directly into the Starbucks Rewards loyalty program.

“This reloadable Visa Prepaid card is a unique and modern option that gives customers one more way to earn more Stars and Rewards through everyday spend, in a way they haven’t been able to before,” said Matt Ryan, chief marketing officer for Starbucks.

The new card has no monthly, annual or reload fees. Cardholders will receive instant “Gold” status within the Starbucks loyalty program, along with other exclusive benefits. They will receive one star for every $10 on purchases made with card.

The prepaid card is the second co-branded product introduced by Starbucks and Chase this year. In February, the two companies introduced the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card.

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Walmart sues to stop former top exec from joining Amazon

BY CSA Staff

The battle between Walmart and Amazon has taken a personal turn.

The discounter sued its former chief tax officer, Lisa Wadlin, for violating her employment agreement by jumping to Amazon, reported Bloomberg. Walmart is seeking to stop Wadlin from taking the position at Amazon until May 2020.

In a lawsuit filed in the Delaware Chancery Court, Walmart alleges that Wadlin violated her employment agreement by agreeing to join Amazon. Walmart said is it looking to protect its rights to lawfully restrict “senior employee’s ability to work for its direct competitor.’’

To read more, click here.

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PetSmart reportedly hires advisors in effort to trim debt

BY Marianne Wilson

PetSmart is the latest highly-leveraged — and sales challenged — retailer to be struggling under debt accumulated in a private equity buyout.

The pet supplies retailer has hired investment bank Houlihan Lokey Inc. to help it explore way to trim its debt load of more than $8 billion, reported Reuters. BC Partners Inc. acquired PetSmart for $8.7 billion in 2014. Since then, the retailer has faced increased competition, especially online. Amazon has been turning up the heat, launching its own private-label pet food line under the Wag label. To beef up its digital offerings, PetSmart acquired its fast-growing online rival, Chewy, in April 2017 for $3.35 billion, which added another $2 billion to the chain’s debt load.

PetSmart recently transferred over a third of Chewy.com’s equity to separate entities, putting the stake out of creditors’ reach. The move is similar to asset transfers undertaken by other debt-distressed retailers, which have created subsidiaries to hold assets, protecting them from creditors.

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