Open Eye: An affinity deal you can bank on

Ten-year partnership that helps provide our University links

The Open University Visa card was one of Beneficial's first affinity relationships. It was unique at the time, as the Open University was the first university in the country to establish an affinity card partnership.

During the ten years since the card was launched, the relationship between the Open University and Beneficial has gone from strength to strength. The Visa card provides valuable financial support for the University, and most importantly provides the OU community with a first-class financial service.

Today the Visa scheme can boast nearly 45,000 cardholders, and has raised pounds 1.6million to benefit OU students and graduates.

One of the major projects funded by the donations received from Beneficial is the founding of the Alumni Association (The OU LINK). Established in 1998, the Alumni Association provides an increasing number of benefits to OU graduates. Beneficial has also had significant involvement with other areas of the University's work. It sponsors a Chair, based in the OU Business School, out of a commitment to marketing excellence and product branding. Currently held by Professor Leslie De Chernatony, the Chair has been renamed the HFC Bank Professor of Brand Marketing.

For many years Beneficial has provided sponsorship towards the production of the OUBS Graduation Directory, which is presented to all graduates at their degree ceremonies.

The bank also supports the University's Open Days and the Open University- Beneficial blue and gold hot-air balloon is a very visible reminder of the relationship. It often appears at hospitality and promotional events.

Nearly 5,000 Open University Visa cardholders have had their account since the scheme began ten years ago. In today's competitive environment this is a remarkable achievement which is a tribute to the strong affinity members have to the OU and also to the service provided by Beneficial.

The Visa card has made many things possible through the income it has generated.

Frank Pocock, the Director of Affinity Services at Beneficial. says: "We owe a debt of gratitude to all our cardholders who have made the OU Visa card what it is. We look forward to building on the success of the last ten years."

Why not apply for an OU Visa Card? It is available, subject to status, to all members and friends of the OU community in the UK.

There is no annual fee and Beneficial, the issuer, donates pounds 3 to the funds of the OU Foundation for every account opened, with further contributions based on the amount you spend with your card.

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