Rewards Credit Cards As Popular As Ever, Says Auriemma Consulting Group

NEW YORK, NY:  Rewards credit cards are as popular today as they've ever been according to recent research from Cardbeat®, a syndicated research report published by the Auriemma Consulting Group, Inc. (ACG).  While a number of banks today are actively marketing their own, bank-sponsored rewards programs over the brands of co-brand and affinity partners, the concept of credit card rewards programs has actually increased in recent years.  For example, the incidence of credit card rewards programs increased from 56% in February 2011 to 62% in January–February 2012, due in part to increased offers from credit card issuers.

Dr. Patricia Sahm, Managing Director at ACG, says that consumers who tend to use rewards cards are motivated by the cards' rewards, and therefore prefer programs that offer opportunities to maximize rewards earned.  She added that in spite of various pressures on credit card rewards programs, 76% of respondents indicate that the value of their rewards card program has not changed during the past year, although only 14% believe the value has increased.  The biggest reason cited for programs being viewed as less valuable are, not surprisingly "earning less rewards" or "having more restrictions placed on rewards" redemptions.

Consumers who have rewards credit cards tend to view the rewards as their primary reason for carrying the card, and four out of five (80%) of them also tend to use those cards most frequently, even though most have several other credit cards in their wallets to choose from.  Credit card issuers also score very highly on the redemption process.  82% of respondents indicate they have actually redeemed card rewards, and nearly all (93%) of them say their experience in doing so was positive.

Dr. Sahm stopped short of saying low rate cards would disappear any time soon, instead she stated "while a portion of consumers will always be attracted to low-rate cards, the growing popularity of rewards cards is a victory for banks that issue rewards credit cards because it shows that credit card rewards programs resonate with many consumers."

About Auriemma Consulting Group

Auriemma Consulting Group (ACG) is a full-service management consulting firm serving the payments, lending, and retail industries since 1984.  Cardbeat®is ACG’s syndicated market research study of credit cardholders, conducted monthly in the U.S. and quarterly in the U.K.  ACG also conducts research in the debit and prepaid space, and publishes a quarterly report known as The Payments Report.  With offices in New York and London, ACG consultants are experienced practitioners drawn from the credit card, private label, auto finance, mortgage, and retail banking industries that we serve.  For more information, please contact Dr. Patricia A. Sahm at 212-323-7000 or patricia.sahm@acg.net.

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