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DOVER, N.H. – Credit union card issuers now have yet another rewards option to possibly offer their cardholders – online music downloads. RewardsNOW, the credit card rewards provider for TNB Card Services and other individual credit unions, has inaugurated a program that will allow cardholders to redeem reward points for online music downloads from Real Networks, an online music and video company. Cardholders will be able to redeem five songs at a time for between 500 and 700 points depending on how the credit union structures its program, according to Duane Kimball, CEO of RewardsNOW. Songs on the Network without the rewards program cost 99-cents a piece. Reaction to the new offering has been strongly positive, Kimball reported, even among credit union cardholders that, at first, might not have seemed to have been interested in getting music online. “We were really a little surprised,” Kimball said. The company rolled the program out first to Clout Financial Services, a provider which targets a generally younger demographic and the results were satisfactory. But credit union cardholders in older age brackets responded even more enthusiastically to the offering, Kimball reported. “In a way this really shouldn’t surprise us,” Kimball said. “One reason we chose Real Networks is because of the wider variety of music it offered,” he said. Because the entire rewards program is done online, without human intervention, the program costs are kept to a minimum, Kimball said, and those savings are passed on to the financial institutions that run the program. He said fees for the program are at least 20% less than other rewards programs. “Because nothing is sent to the customer and there’s no shipping or paper involved, this is a very low-cost reward to deliver to a customer,” Kimball said. “With its low reward points requirement, customers can get a meaningful reward even if they may not be spending at a level that would earn them travel or other larger rewards. This is an excellent way to get customers involved at the low end of the spending spectrum.” There are several ways a financial institution can make use of the program, Kimball noted. They can be used to promote card usage, as most rewards programs operate, and because of their low cost, the music rewards can also be used to encourage credit or debit card applications or activations. Financial institutions that are existing RewardsNOW customers can easily add the music option, or an institution can also participate in only the Music program. The program is also available for licensing to other rewards program providers. The Music RewardsNOW program will be further expanded later this year, Kimball said, with the addition of downloadable wireless phone ringtones as customer rewards. [email protected]

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