Thu, Feb 27, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Taishin bank fights for high-end clients with Infinite card

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Imagine a credit card with no preset spending limit that allows you to buy a car, a yacht or even an estate. You can probably get one provided you earn NT$3 million a year and are willing to fork over a NT$20,000 annual fee.

Taishin International Bank's (台新銀行) new Visa Infinite card (無限卡) "will be by invitation only," said Eric Wu (吳東亮), chairman of Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控), at a launching ceremony for the card yesterday afternoon.

Wu said that the first targeted pool of potential cardholders will be from the bank's wealth management clients, who have an annual income of over NT$3 million.

Four Infinite cards were given to yesterday's honorary guests including Rosemary Ho (何薇玲), Hewlett-Packard Co's Taiwan managing director, Eunice Chiou (邱麗孟), general manager of Microsoft Taiwan, and Christopher Clark, country manager of Visa International.

Visa Infinite cardholders will enjoy benefits such as travel insurance coverage as high as NT$50 million, free parking in some 50 parking lots, free entry to some cultural activities and 24-hour concierge services that can help to arrange parties and banquets free of charge, Daniel Tsai (蔡孟峰), general manager of the holding company's retail banking group, said at the same ceremony.

The bank charges an annual fee of NT$20,000 for the card, Tsai said.

The cards are a prestige issue, giving users big face as only 20,000 Infinite cards have been issued globally. Taishin is the first bank in Asia to issue the cards.

Visa International's Clark said that the Infinite card caters to the needs of the top 1 percent of the highest spending consumers worldwide. The bank estimates the number of potential cardholders in Taiwan at around 100,000.

Visa International's research showed that the typical Infinite cardholder is a professional or entrepreneur between the ages of 35 and 54, earning at least US$100,000 a year.

William Fong (方偉昌), an analyst with PrimAsia Securities Co, yesterday called Taishin an aggressive bank that seizes every opportunity to obtain the advantage when launching products.

"The card will help boost the bank's transaction income," Fong said.

"Even though other banks provide similar wealth-management products, there's still a lot of room for growth," he said.

The card launch coincides with Taishin opening its newly renovated flagship wealth-management center in Taipei.

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