CHAMPAIGN — The University of Illinois VISA affinity card gained more new accounts in 2011 than any other college-affiliated credit card, according to a federal report.
The card — issued by the UI Employees Credit Union under an agreement with the UI Alumni Association — gained 3,452 new accounts in 2011.
That was 10 percent more than the second-place card — a Harvard University affinity card issued by Barclays Bank Delaware under an agreement with the Harvard Alumni Association.
In third place was a Purdue affinity card issued by the Purdue Federal Credit Union under an agreement with the Purdue Alumni Association.
The UI affinity card is marketed to UI alumni, fans and credit union members, but not to UI students. The alumni association receives royalties based on credit card purchase transactions.
The UI Employees Credit Union was awarded the contract for the card on July 1, 2010, replacing a long-term relationship between the alumni association and Bank of America.
Altogether, the UI affinity card had 4,222 total accounts as of Dec. 31, 2011. The university with the largest number of total accounts for its affinity card program was Penn State, with 65,955 at the end of 2011.
Other universities with big affinity card programs included Michigan, Texas A&M, Texas and Indiana. The cards for all of those programs were issued by FIA Card Services.
The statistics came from the 2011 Annual Report to Congress on College Credit Card Agreements, compiled by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.