Expect to See More Competition in Card Space in 2018

By CUToday.info01.03.2018

A new report that is predicting the battle for consumers’ credit card business will only become more heated in 2018.

Forbes outlined five trends to watch for next year, including more benefits for premium cards.

More Brands Will Launch Their Own Cards

“In 2017, we saw the launches of the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card and the Uber Visa, as well as the announcement of the Starbucks Visa card. Retailers often view a branded card as a way to capitalize on customer loyalty — and if rewards are generous enough, many customers are happy to sign up,” said NerdWallet’s Kimberly Palmer in the Forbes report.

Premium Cards Will Offer Even More Luxurious Benefits

“Premium cardholders have come to expect perks including airport lounge access, high rewards rates, ride-sharing credits and travel credits. To stand out, issuers might have to get even more creative. American Express already teamed up with SoulCycle to offer card member perks, and you can expect other partnerships between issuers and high-end brands. First-class upgrades, spa treatments and champagne-filled events are all possibilities in this highly competitive world,” Palmer said.

Issuers Will Focus on Long-Term Consumer Loyalty

“Sign-up bonuses can be attractive to customers, but expensive for card issuers. In fact, sometimes issuers end up dialing back those offers. Instead of focusing on big, upfront incentives, some issuers may simplify their reward structures or redemption processes to make their products more appealing over the long run. Capital One, for example, offers incentives and discounts for customers who use multiple products across its Spark Business Suite. Other incentives for cardholders could include redemption bonuses, such as the one offered by the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard,” Palmer said.

Credit Cards Will Come in More Shapes and Sizes

“Cardholders have already shown an affinity for metal cards so strong they can slice limes; they also seem to appreciate card aesthetics. If you’ve got at least $15,000, you can order a gem-encrusted, custom credit card from Zurich-based company Rosan Diamond when you apply through a handful of partner banks; the new Uber Visa card contains an appealing array of multicolored dots on a black background. Card issuers will likely continue to play with different colors, and even shapes, to catch consumers’ attention,” Palmer said.

Issuers Will Ramp Up Their Emphasis on Security

“Recent high-profile data breaches may have card issuers doing more to put security-conscious consumers at ease. Credit score monitoring, identity theft resources and enhanced fraud protection are among the features you might find. Discover has already launched alerts for cardholders whose Social Security number shows up on the dark web,” Palmer said.

Reprinted with permission from CUToday.info, a leading source of news and resources for credit union decision-makers.