What Credit Card Features Drive New Credit Card Adoption?

February 5, 2018

Credit card companies continue to add more features to draw new business, but new research shows that 80% of credit card users are unclear about the benefits of their primary credit card and more than half indicate that they know little or nothing about its features. In a recent study of more than 1,000 financial decision-makers, Market Strategies explored user attitudes and familiarity with credit card benefits with product development research.

The study evaluated the degree of interest in commonly offered credit card benefits and features, and identified which ones would tip the balance of interest enough to drive consumers to actually open a new credit card. Some of the most glamorous credit card features–the ones that often dominate marketing messages–are the least impactful. They include advanced mobile and other technology features like contact-less payment (tap to pay), and high-end lifestyle benefits like concierge service.

“Credit card issuers have fallen victim to ‘feature creep,’ where the idea is that more is better,” said Mike Berinato, vice president of research and consulting for financial services at Market Strategies. “But consumers aren’t looking for more–they are looking for the right combination that works for them.”

While cost- and value-oriented benefits have the strongest draw among potential new users, there are nuances to user attitudes at the acquisition stage and among different age groups that credit card issuers need to better understand to more effectively promote credit card features and benefits.

“There are significant differences in preferences when you break down users by age group, so establishing value first and then promoting a more relevant set of features to targeted consumers will be a more effective strategy,” said Berinato.

Majority Credit Card

About the Study

Market Strategies interviewed a national sample of 1,014 consumers age 18 and older. Respondents were recruited from the e-Rewards opt-in online panel of US adults and were interviewed online. In order to qualify, each survey respondent had to confirm he or she either is primarily responsible or shares responsibility for making household financial decisions. The data were weighted by age and gender to match the demographics of the US population. Due to its opt-in nature, this online panel (like most others) does not yield a random probability sample of the target population. As such, it is not possible to compute a margin of error or to statistically quantify the accuracy of projections. Market Strategies will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.


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