DEBIT CARD REWARDS – RE-BOOT?

There is enough consumer interest in debit card rewards to warrant providers taking a second look at this marketing strategy, according to a recent survey by SYNERGISTICS Research entitled, Debit Cards: Strategies and Tactics.  Currently few debit card holders – one-third – earn discounts, rewards, or rebates for their debit card activity.  Three in ten of those earning rewards pay a fee to do so.  One in eight indicate annual fees; one in six pay monthly fees. Among those debit card holders not earning rewards, three-fourths express interest in a debit card reward program.  Somewhat more than four in ten would be “very” interested.  Interest is widest among 18- to 34-year-olds.  Of those expressing interest, almost four in ten are willing to pay an annual fee of at least $20 for a debit card reward program, including one in eight who would pay $50.

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William H. McCracken, CEO of SYNERGISTICS, stated, “In the face of increasing economic and regulatory pressures – along with the reduction in interchange income for some debit card issuers – debit card reward programs, for the most part, have been de-emphasized or even discontinued by most financial institutions that were involved with them.  However, debit card rewards are a relationship tactic that is appropriate for some markets and customer segments.  Providers should consider debit card rewards as a value-added, fee-based relationship tactic, particularly focused on that younger segment of the market who is most receptive to these programs.  Presenting a clear proposition – that is, a reward program that is easily understood and provides definite value – is essential.”

These are among the findings from SYNERGISTICS study, Debit Cards: Strategies and Tactics, featuring 1,003 national Internet interviews with consumers age 18 or older.  This study examines consumer usage of and reaction to debit card programs, including pricing, rewards, special services and product innovations.  Security and privacy issues are also evaluated. Results will be presented to clients during a teleconference on June 15, 2015, at 2 p.m. (EST).