AmEx, Zowi Launch stored-value Cobaltcard for Young Adults

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American Express Co. yesterday launched a stored-value card along with online payment services company Zowi Corp. in an attempt to allow youths ages 13 to 22 to buy on the Internet.


Called Cobaltcard, the new product requires consumers to sign up online at the www.cobaltcard.com site maintained by Zowi, San Francisco. The card will be accepted at most online and offline merchants that accept American Express.


The card allows users to buy without using cash or credit cards. Cardholders can either load money onto their Cobaltcard by transferring from a personal checking account or by having parents transfer funds from a checking account or credit cards.


In its latest endeavor, AmEx faces competition from Pocketcard and Visa International's Visa Bucks -- both targeting the same youth market with similar stored-value cards.


To promote the card, Cobaltcard will become the primary focus of the final episode of MTV's "Road Rules" series. The show follows young adult contestants as they travel through exotic locations.


In the finale, the Cobaltcard will be the only way the contestants can buy supplies and spend money to reach their ultimate goal. Winners get to split the $100,000 prize on their Cobaltcards for spending on the Internet.
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