Affinity Cards

Plain credit cards are out in the mother land of plastic money. American consumers of today like to make statements by using credit cards issued by a particular organization. There are plenty of choices, ranging from environmental organizations to the gun lobby. Orchestras have also jumped on the bandwagon. A few weeks ago, they started offering their own cards to music lovers. Orchestra cards not only show the logo of a particular orchestra, they also provide financial support for the orchestra. No matter whether it's used to buy two concert tickets or a pair of moon boots, the bank channels a tiny portion of the purchase amount (a fraction of one percent) to the orchestra. The so-called "affinity cards" showcase the enormous competition in the credit card business. At the same time, they exemplify how inventive American orchestras are when it comes to meeting budget goals. Currently, the 20 largest orchestras issue their own cards, but there will be more, as Georg Hirsch reports.

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