Starbucks, Bank One, and Visa U.S.A. have announced a strategic relationship to develop “innovative new consumer payment products that will enable Starbucks to enhance consumer convenience and reward customer loyalty.”

The first payment product, to be launched later this year, will combine the benefits and convenience of a re-loadable stored value Starbucks Card and a Visa credit card all in one. According to Starbucks, the combined credit/stored value card will be the first of its kind.

“The Starbucks Card has redefined the stored value card market by becoming the ideal payment solution for a high-volume, low-ticket retail environment,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman and chief global strategist. “By partnering with Bank One and Visa to offer a new dual-function card, we can provide customers with a choice of convenient payment products that both enhances and rewards the Starbucks experience.”

In conjunction with the launch of this new product, Starbucks will also introduce its first formal customer-appreciation program to provide Starbucks-related benefits and rewards to customers. This program will deliver value-added services and frequent rewards to participants that are relevant and unique to Starbucks.

The original stored-value Starbucks Card, launched in November 2001, allows customers to purchase Starbucks beverages and other merchandise. The company says it “has rapidly become the preferred payment method for Starbucks most frequent customers.”

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