Consumer Insights: 2009 Financial Institutions Rewards Programs

First Data Competitive Intelligence conducted a Consumer Loyalty Study in April 2009 focused on rewards programs for Financial Institutions (FIs). This study resulted in several key findings including: equal satisfaction for debit and credit rewards programs members, decrease in credit card rewards program, increase in debit memberships, consumers use gas rewards programs most often, and more.

The study of 2,449 U.S. consumers focuses on rewards programs with Financial Institutions (FIs), the travel sector and the retail sector. This CI Market Brief focuses on consumer insights regarding rewards for the FI sector. Sample sizes completing the survey for specific rewards programs are as follows: Bank Credit Card (n=290); Debit Card (n=286); Gas Credit Card (n=135); Department Store Credit Card (n=197).

Key Insights

1. Membership in Credit Card Rewards Programs Decreases While Debit Membership Increases
The number of consumers reporting they have a credit card with a rewards program from a bank or credit union has fallen from 71 percent in 2008 to 67 percent in 2009. Significantly more consumers report having a debit card with a rewards program in 2009 (45 percent) compared to 2008 (34 percent).

2. Credit and Debit Rewards Members Equally Satisfied with Programs
Nineteen percent of consumers who are members of credit or debit rewards programs rated their satisfaction with the programs at 19 percent (Top-2 box score) compared to an overall satisfaction with rewards programs of 23 percent.

3. Debit Card Least Influential Rewards Program
Forty-one percent of debit card rewards program members reported that the programs had “no influence” in their choice of FI.

4. Gas Rewards Programs Used Most Often
Gas rewards programs tied to a credit card are used “every time” or “most of the time” by 76 percent of gas rewards members.

5. Majority of FI Members Not Willing to Pay More for Program Benefits
Roughly 70 percent of consumers who are members of FI loyalty programs reported that they were not willing to pay a higher interest rate for a card with loyalty rewards. Of those members willing to pay a higher interest rate, gas credit cards have the highest average additional amount at 2.0 percent.