Direct-sales personal computer maker Gateway Inc has launched what it claims is a new way of buying home PCs with a financing program called YourWare, spreading the cost of the computer over two, three or four years, and gives the user the ability to trade the hardware into Gateway as part-exchange for a new PC. Gateway has teamed with MBNA America Bank to offer prospective PC buyers interest rates starting at 14.9% and going up depending on the user's credit rating. The North Sioux City, South Dakota company emphasized that YourWare is not a leasing program such as that offered by many of its rivals, including Dell Computer Corp, because the user owns the machine from day one, even though no down-payment is required and customers can add to their credit line at anytime if they want to buy additional components. The trade-in price Gateway offers them for part or all of their machines will be determined by the current price in the Orion Blue Book, a standard reference when determining secondary market pricing, or a similar standard reference determined by the company. Gateway president and chief operating officer Jeff Weitzen said the company does have plans to access the secondary market for used computers, but will not spin out a separate unit to do that at this time, as the first used computers will not be available to it for at least two years. The company is offering its G-series desktop, Solo portable and destination large-screen multimedia machines through the program. In addition to the long-term financing offered by Gateway, users who wish to pay for their PCs up front in one go can also qualify for the trade-in obsolescence protection element of YourWare by either signing up to Gateway's unlimited internet access service - gateway.net - or by purchasing one of Gateway's 15 customized software bundles. Starting June 22 Gateway will offer a simple sign-up program for those who choose its internet access, because as the company already has all of its customer personal details, it does not require any more than a user name and password to sign up to gateway.net, which costs $15 a month if bought in a six month block, or $18 per month.
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