Citibank today announced its launch of a new Visa-branded credit card that features tools and rewards to help cardholders manage their spending and credit use. Citi lowers the interest rate on Citi Forward card purchases by a quarter percent and awards Citi ThankYou rewards points for each month cardholders stay under their credit limits and pay their monthly bills on time. A similar Citi Forward MySpace card awards additional ThankYou points for socially or environmentally beneficial activities, such as opting out of paper statements, volunteering or donating to charitable organizations. Both cards enable cardholders to set customized billing dates, track their spending by category online, and receive e-mail or text alerts for such events as payment due dates, receipt of payments and balances approaching credit limits. Citi began exploring the possible market for the card two years ago, and researchers at the time thought such a product would appeal to consumers ages 18 to 30, Terry O'Neil, executive vice president of Citi Cards, tells CardLine. But Citi expanded its target market to consumers as old as 40 after 74% of participants in that broader age group said in focus groups they would find such credit- and spend-management features appealing on a new card, he says. Some 82% of research participants told Citi they needed more help managing their finances, O'Neil adds. "Now, more than ever, consumers are looking for help managing and protecting their credit," he says.

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