Angry Birds debit cards to be issued in Russia

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By NATALIYA VASILYEVA, Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian fans of the videogame Angry Birds will soon be able to get special debit cards — or "Angry Cards" — giving them discounts on the game's products.

Moscow-based Promsvyazbank said Tuesday it will start issuing the new MasterCards on June 4. They will be printed with images of the various characters and will give users a 10 percent discount on all Angry Birds-branded products.

Besides debit cards, the bank will also issue Angry Bird cash cards, which users top up with money. The bank will pay a 4 percent annual interest rate on the card's balance.

The maker of Angry Birds, Rovio Entertainment, has already launched toys and baby clothes lines featuring Angry Birds characters. But the Russian debit card is going to be the first Angry Birds branded financial product. The videogame has been downloaded more than 10 million times in Russia.

Ivan Pyatkov, director for retail sales and technology at Promsvyazbank, told the Associated Press that the bank is planning an initial printing of 50,000 cards but hopes to issue twice as much by the end of the year.

The bank expects the card to help attract urbanites between 25 and 35 years of age with a monthly income of at least $1,000.

Pyatkov said the bank is receiving a large number of requests for Angry Birds cards following early reports in the Russian press.

"Some clients are demanding their Angry Birds cards right now — before the official launch," Pyatkov said.

Promsvyazbank will be launching the card in partnership with Internet Retail Solutions, Rovio's agent in Russia.

Promsvyazbank, ranked as Russia's 11th largest by the Interfax research center, is 74 percent-owned by two Russian tycoons, the Ananyev brothers. Commerzbank holds 14 percent in the lender via a subsidiary while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has a 12 percent stake.

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