UK satellite television operator BSkyB is reported to be planning to introduce a credit card for use in the second slot in its set-top boxes.

A leading high street bank has been linked to the plans. The card could be used as a the basis for a loyalty scheme, a means of payment for home-shopping, in connection with interactive advertising, and to provide a way to manage betting accounts.

Sky formally confirmed last year that it would open up the second card slot to enable the operation of broadcast-based loyalty schemes from early in 2005.

The company would not comment further, saying it “continues to evaluate options for potential applications of the interactive slot.”

One advantage that BSkyB would have in marketing a credit card would be its subscriber database and the monthly magazine it sends to customers.

Other leading UK broadcasters are also believed to be planning loyalty card schemes in partnership with high-street retailers.

A UK start-up, known as MiCard, aims to support broadcasters in deploying channel branded loyalty cards that reward viewers for watching more, earning points that are redeemable in the high street, generating increased footfall for retail partners and increased advertising revenues for broadcasters.

Meanwhile, a French company TV Card launched their own smart card concepts at Milia back in March 2004, identifying opportunities for betting, gaming, user identification, pre-payment and loyalty schemes.

First mover advantage would appear to be key, as its seems unlikely that most subscribers would use more than one card.