West German banks plan to issue their own credit card next year to compete against foreign firms and domestic retailers in what is a largely undeveloped market in a rich country of 61 million people. Their decision was announced last week in a statement by a payments systems company which is owned by the banks, after a meeting of senior officials.
The move follows a stepped-up advertising campaign in West Germany by established international card groups such as American Express, Diners Club, and Visa.
Earlier this year, West German retailers, restaurateurs and hoteliers associations agreed to issue their own card. They launched a campaign this week to persuade members to accept their new ``German Credit Card.''
The payments systems company said it was seeking cooperation with international partners as it intended its new card, which as yet does not have a formal name, to be useable worldwide.
At the end of 1986, West Germans held only about 1.4 million credit cards. In Britain, by comparison, the figure is about 23 million. There are about 200 million credit cards in use in the United States.