The National Football League (NFL) has recently announced the decision to move the leagues credit card business from the Bank of America to Barclay. Barclay is a bank in Britain who will takeover the management of the official NFL branded credit card in September of 2010. The change from the Bank of America to Barclay will present a few changes for cardholders.
Why the Change?
The reason for the change in banks is not entirely clear. The Bank of America and the NFL representatives failed to comment on the details surrounding the decision to stop their contract arrangement. The Bank of America simply reports that there was difficulty reaching an agreement on the credit card contract with the NFL. The Bank of America has held the NFL contract since 1995.
It was discovered that the Bank of America does not allow the teams to issue credit cards but they do issue debit cards that display the Bank of America logo. This is speculated to be one of the issues that sparked the change in official banks for the NFL. Effective in September, Barclay’s will take over the operation and administration of the card branded especially for the NFL Barclay’s is estimated to have about 6 million U.S. credit card holders to date. The Bank of America still represents four of the NFL teams and is also the official bank for the Major League Baseball.
Although the Bank of America faced some financial difficulties during the recession the rates are starting to improve significantly. The Bank of America may have anticipated that allowing a points program on credit cards was too risky which may have contributed to the decision of the NFL to change credit card companies. It is always less of a risk to issue debt cards over credit cards for any credit card company. For a company that is just recovering from a crisis issuing credit cards with an array of spending limits this may have been too great of a financial risk to take.
What Cardholders Can Expect
With the change of issuing banks cardholders can be sure that rules, regulations and rewards programs will change. This is the case with the NFL cards. The rewards points that cardholders have racked up with the Bank of America sponsored reward program known as NFL Extra Points will expire at the end of August 2010.
The current Bank of America points program allows cardholders to spend a dollar and earn a point. Once the points build up they can be traded in for sports related items such as caps, jerseys or other sports related rewards. Cardholders anticipating the change are scrambling to cash in the points earned as to not loose out on the goodies they have earned through spending on their card. Cardholders who do not spend their earned points by the end of August will loose them and have to start over with the new Barclay’s program.
A new points program still being designed by Barclay’s will be put into place in September when Barclay officially takes over the credit card contract for the NFL. Interestingly, the company did purchase the right to market the NFL card but did not buy out the existing accounts. The existing cardholders will have to be converted to allow the cardholders to enroll in the points program in September. If cardholders do not switch over the accounts they will be unable to earn points on their new Barclay sponsored NFL card.
There is work to be done to make the change in banks an easy transition for the NFL and the cardholders. The last thing that Barclay’s or the NFL wants to do is upset the fans that enjoy all the perks that go along with being a cardholder of an NFL sponsored card.