L.L. Bean drops credit card vendor with Wilton call center

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L.L. Bean has switched providers for its branded credit card, dropping a company that has added hundreds of jobs at a western Maine call center in the past decade.

Cards branded with the logo of the Freeport-based outdoor and apparel retailer will now be provided by Citi Retail Services, a branch of Citibank and use the Mastercard brand, according to a joint news release from the three companies Monday.

Citi will take over the $1.5 billion L.L. Bean co-brand credit card portfolio, from Barclaycard US, credit card wing of UK-based Barclays bank.

There are no changes planned at this time at the Wilton call center Barclays operates, Barclays spokeswoman said Jenn DeBerge in an email.

“We have a very diverse consumer business that extends beyond our relationship with L.L.Bean,” DeBerge said. “We have many more partners, products and customers we service with our various teams in Wilton. There are no changes planned in Wilton at this time. We appreciate L.L.Bean’s partnership for the past nine years and wish them continued success moving forward.”

The L.L. Bean card includes a “Bean Bucks” rewards program that gives consumers a percentage of their transactions back in the form of coupons that can be used for L.L. Bean purchases, plus perks such as free monogramming and return shipping.

The outdoor gear retailer declined to elaborate on why it made the switch.

“The terms of our relationship with Barclaycard US as the co-branded card provider was ending after 10 years and we decided not to renew that agreement,” said L.L. Bean spokeswoman Carolyn Beem in an email. “After a rigorous selection process we selected Citi because of the significantly enhanced customer benefits.”

There will be an increase in rewards for purchases made at gas stations, restaurants and L.L. Bean with the new cards, Beem said. Current cardholders will get Mastercard accounts and reissued cards.

Barclaycard employs up to 500 people at a call center in Wilton that provides customer service for its branded credit cards. The company was the fourth-largest employer in Franklin County in the last quarter of 2017, according to state employment data.

Barclaycard opened its call center on Weld Road in Wilton in 2008 and added hundreds of jobs in the first six years of operation. In 2015, it completed a $5 million expansion that allowed it to grow its workforce of 380 by at least another 100 workers.

Barclaycard has branded cards portfolio includes Jetblue, American Airlines, Luftahnsa, Hawaiian Airlines, Carnival and Holland America cruise lines, Uber and Priceline.com, according to its website.

(Staff photo illustration)

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