AmEx, 7-Eleven Debut Prepaid Web Shopping Card

American Express and 7-Eleven Inc. have given online merchants the ability to sell to consumers without credit cards and to those who will not reveal credit card information over the Web.

The two companies introduced their prepaid 7-Eleven Internet Shopping Card yesterday.

Cards can be bought with cash or credit at participating 7-Eleven stores in the United States. Consumers can load Internet shopping cards with $25 to $1,000. They can be used to make online purchases at e-tail Web sites where American Express is accepted.

Consumers pay for the amount of credit they want on the card, plus a 4 percent service charge. Funds are available for use online or at 7-Eleven stores immediately after being activated by sales associates.

Internet shopping cards “can be used like an American Express credit or charge card to buy goods and services online,” said Tim McCallum, category manager for prepaid services at 7-Eleven Inc. “They offer people who do not have a credit card the convenience of shopping online.”

Patricia Alexander, vice president of American Express Stored Value Group, said, “By partnering with 7-Eleven on the shopping card, we can offer millions of Americans, particularly those without a credit history, an easy way to make online purchases.”

Card users will be able to call a toll-free number to obtain balance information. Cards can be refilled with credit at 7-Eleven stores. Internet returns are credited back to cards used for purchases.

Internet shopping cards bring consumers “the universe of Internet shopping with the reach of the American Express card and the flexibility and privacy of paying cash,” McCallum said.

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