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Starbucks launches credit card, hoping to jolt sales

This image provided by Starbucks shows the new Starbucks Rewards credit card, launched in cooperation with JPMorgan Chase and Visa. The Starbucks Rewards credit card has a $49 annual fee and lets cardholders earn free Starbucks drinks and food for purchases made in and out of the coffee chain. (Courtesy of Starbucks via AP)

Starbucks has a new product that it hopes will hook coffee lovers: a credit card.

The card, launched Thursday with JPMorgan Chase and Visa, comes as Starbucks struggles with slowing growth in the U.S. With the new card, Starbucks wants to lure those who aren't yet signed up for its rewards program. The Seattle-based company has more than 14 million Starbucks members in its rewards program in the U.S., but it is working to grow that number because members tend to stop by its shops more often for coffee or snacks.

The Starbucks Rewards credit card has a $49 annual fee and lets cardholders earn free Starbucks drinks and food with purchases they make at the coffee chain and elsewhere. Cardholders will be enrolled into the Starbucks rewards program.

Branded credit cards, like the Starbucks one, have been popular for decades since they help strengthen customer loyalty. Ride-hailing company Uber, for example, launched a credit card last year.

Starbucks Corp. said it also plans to launch a prepaid card in April with Chase for those who don't want a credit card or can't qualify for one.

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