During the past twelve months, 20 percent of all cardholders reported shopping for a new card. Among consumers who reported feeling more confident about the economy, this stood at a higher 34 percent.
“As we see consumer economic sentiment improve, we’re also seeing a corresponding increase in retail and e-commerce spending along with increased card shopping, especially among those in the subprime sector,” said Sarah Lenart, comScore vice president of financial services. “With shopping and card applications expected to continue to increase in 2011, consumers are likely to place even greater emphasis on competitive card features and offerings as well as enticing rewards programs.”
Low interest rates, the lack of annual fees, and rewards programs were regarded as the most important features by most cardholders, with low interest rates deemed most important by 40 percent of consumers. Rewards programs rank third in importance to cardholders but represent an opportunity to incentivize consumers to increase their overall use of credit as opposed to using a debit card or cash.
The most important credit card reward offerings were cash back (57 percent of respondents), merchant rewards (13 percent), flexible points (13 percent) and airline miles (10 percent).
Issuer Websites Gain Importance as a Channel for Servicing Cardholders
As card issuers continue to develop websites and mobile applications as a way to engage with cardholders, a noticeable shift can be seen in consumers’ use of these channels as opposed to more traditional channels. In 2010, 76 percent of cardholders reported accessing their accounts online, up 5-percentage points from a year ago. One in five cardholders who also own a mobile phone report having used their mobile device to manage their accounts over the past 12 months.
While mobile applications and sites are not used to the same extent as other channels, they are gaining popularity. Among cardholders with mobile phones, 16 percent reported accessing their issuer’s site through a mobile browser and 13 percent reported accessing their accounts through mobile applications.
“As people increasingly rely on digital channels to manage their credit card accounts, it’s important to understand to what degree consumers are using them and how these access methods create value for issuers’ key customer segments,” added Ms. Lenart.