The City of Vaughan (just north of Toronto) has launched a MuniCard Mastercard that offers benefits to cardholders, the city, and local businesses. Card features include:
- No annual fee
- 1% cash reward applied toward property tax bill
- 25% discount at participating local merchants
- No cost to the municipality
From the press release:
The innovative card heralds a new era in consumer loyalty credit card programs, where residential property owners can translate their existing spending into savings on their municipal property tax bill. "Our Council and community have spearheaded this program with Civic Strategies because we think it is a terrific concept," said Mayor Jackson. "Our municipality is saying use your City of Vaughan MuniCard MasterCard and earn rewards to pay towards your property tax at the same time. I can't imagine a municipality that wouldn't want to participate in a reward program like this."
Apparently this program has been in the works since 2005 (see news tab of MuniCard website) and given the various stakeholders involved I'm not surprised by the delay.
Civic Strategies (Toronto) has teamed up with GE Money (Canada) to provide a solution for Vaughn, but their website implies that they will partner with other financial institutions and deliver a turnkey solution at no cost to the municipality.
From the Civic Strategies website:
Once a municipality or government entity endorses the MuniCard™ program, Civic Strategies Inc. will facilitate a partnership between the local government and the most suitable financial institution. In the case of a co-branded credit card, Civic Strategies Inc. will provide a complete turnkey operation that includes a financial auditing of the entire program, the handling of all legal matters to ensure privacy compliance and complete confidentiality and the provision of complete marketing and customer support. The program is totally self-financing with no cost to the municipality.
(via Payments Watch)