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The Harvard Coop will issue new credit cards to members which they can use at stores in the Square and throughout New England.
The Coop's new financing plan-through the Harvard Trust Company-will bring rebates to Coop members on all Coop purchases, even if a bill is not paid within the month.
The new arrangement also allows members to cash checks at the Coop without the 15-cent service charge.
Students who wish to charge at the Coop will have to register for a new card. One side of the card will be similar to the old Coop card and will display the old number. The other side will be a Charge Account Plan (CAP) card, which can be used throughout New England. Students who wish to make all purchases by cash may continue to use the old Coop card.
Non-student Coop members will receive a different card, a Master Charge card. The Master Charge card is accepted throughout the country and provides a higher credit limit than the CAP's $300 ceiling.
At the end of each month, students will receive a bill from the Harvard Trust. The new bills will itemize expenditures at other stores as well as the Coop.
"The Coop is essentially in the cash business now," said acting Coop manager Al Zavelle. "If a member buys something for $10, the bank immediately credits our account with $10," he said.
The bank will now charge customers one and a half per cent interest per month on overdue bills, Zavelle said. The Coop was about to adopt such a charge anyway, he added.
The Coop had been losing about six per cent in its charge business, while the bank will now charge only two per cent for the service. "For the first time, we have a good reason for the two per cent difference between the cash and charge rebates," Zavelle said.
The now financing will reduce the money customers owe the Coop-currently one million dollars-and eventually eliminate the nine per cent interest the Coop must pay on those accounts. Coop president Milton Brown estimated that the new system will save the Coop about $90,000 a year.
"We hope that students will use the new cards sensibly since it's a chance for them to establish credit. The card will become quite valuable and its loss should be reported at once," Zavelle said.
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