The Sun offers branded MasterCard

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UK daily newspaper The Sun has partnered with MasterCardá to promote a Sun-branded, pre-paid debit card.

The Sun will run ads for the cards in print and on its Web site. Marketing efforts for the card will cost a reported ú1 million (US$2,028,481) over the next 10 months.

Pre-paid cards are being used as a branding technique by several companies in England. The Sun's rival paper, the Daily Mirror, came out with a pre-paid card called Quidity last October. Virgin Money launched a card in July, and FHM and TalkSport have also joined the branded-card movement.

The Sun card will be targeted at young people and other consumers who lack the credit to apply for traditional bank accounts or credit cards. Customers will be able "fill up" the card at PayPoint facilities and banks or through bank transfers, credit/debit cards or direct salary deposit. The pre-pay service prevents card users from going into debt on the cards.

Sun-branded cards will cost ú6.49 (US$13.16), but users are offered a ú5 (US$10.14) rebate with their first purchase. The card offer ends in March 2008.

The latest ABCs reported The Sun's circulation at 3,158,045. The tabloid's Web site reports 4,288,597 average daily page impressions, as of January 2006. The Sun is owned by News Corp.

The Sun cards are being marketed in partnership with Tuxedo Money Solutions and Newcastle Building Society.

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