American Express Will Issue First Co-branded Card in Canada

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American Express Co. will team with Toronto-based bank CIBC to issue its first co-branded American Express credit card in Canada on Jan. 15.

Financial terms were not disclosed. With this deal, CIBC becomes the first bank in Canada to issue Visa and American Express credit cards.

CIBC said it will issue three American Express-CIBC branded credit cards called Entourage. The three cards include the CIBC Entourage American Express card, which is the first nationally available card in Canada to feature a smart chip; the CIBC Entourage Platinum American Express Card, targeted to affluent customers; and the CIBC Entourage Business American Express Card, targeted to businesses.

The bank said its customers can apply for an Entourage credit card over the phone, at CIBC branches and on the Internet beginning Jan. 15.

Under terms of the agreement, CIBC will issue the cards and is responsible for their product design, marketing and the customer service associated with the accounts. The bank plans to launch an extensive marketing campaign in Canada that will include television, direct mail, online and outdoor advertising. CIBC did not give any details about its marketing plans.

CIBC already provides treasury, cash management and foreign exchange services for American Express in Canada.

This deal comes on the heels of the credit card company's announcement Jan. 7 that it expanded its marketing Alliance with AOL Time Warner. That deal will promote usage of the American Express Card and expand the redemption options for the American Express Membership Rewards program among AOL Time Warner properties, calls for both companies to collaborate on developing new content and distribution channels for American Express marketing and advertising initiatives across AOL Time Warner's media properties.

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