THE LAUNCH of Tesco's new Visa credit card in July ran into a temporary setback when the Data Protection Registrar questioned the use of the retailer's Clubcard database to promote the new card, because it is a joint venture with the Royal Bank of Scotland. Initially, the Registrar insisted Tesco must first mail all its 10m Clubcard-holders, offering them the chance to opt-out of receiving information on other products or services. However, after a hearing, the DPR softened its stance, requiring only that mailings come direct from Tesco, rather than the RBS or any other third party.

Emulating its deadly rival J Sainsbury, Tesco also turned up the heat on the high street banking sector with the launch of a new 24-hour telephone banking service - 'a new way of banking', claims Derek Sachs, chief executive of Tesco Personal Finance. The joint venture, with financial services partner the Royal Bank of Scotland, will also provide banking facilities instore - which Sainsbury doesn't - 'for those who prefer to bank while they shop'. Yet again the wily supermarketeer breaks Sainsbury's serve!