Auto

JGRA to introduce gas/discount card

BY BRIAN BONITTO Associate Editor — Auto and Entertainment

Friday, November 02, 2012    

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THE Jamaica Gasolene Retailers Association (JGRA) plans to introduce its own discount/gas card before year-end.

Derrick Thompson, JGRA president, confirmed that talks were under way but was tight-lipped about the details.

"We have been approached by four or five persons. However, there is one in particular that the organisation is very interested in. This is the most serious one we've seen and we're in the process of having our technical team review the proposal," said Thompson, who took over the leadership of the 61-year-old group from Trevor Heaven on September 6.

The president said the entity they were in discussions with was not a financial institution but was backed by one.

In August, the 160-member JGRA said it would revamp its operations in a bid to save the sector from extinction. The group said it would be adopting several recommendations including moving away from "full service to self-service" as well as discontinuing the use of credit cards due to the high interest rates charged for their use.

November 1 was the deadline for discontinuing the use of credit cards. However, this was extended after dialogue with "one major bank".

"When you sell gas at four per cent profit and the payment for accepting card credit is 3.5 per cent, that really makes no sense," the president said.

Trevor Heaven, immediate past president of the outfit, said the introduction of such a card would be a win-win for everyone.

"We're trying to work through the bankers' association so we won't have to meet with all the banks individually," he said.

"And the card would be accepted by all gas retailers islandwide," he continued.

Heaven said the thinking is that the card would also give discounts on auto-related merchandise.

"We are thinking the card should give discounts on tyres, batteries, lubricants, parts, and accessories from all our participating dealers," he said.

The immediate past president said it would not be like any other card on the market.

"It's a brand new card with a brand new platform," said Heaven.

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