Online Shopping Promotes Increased Debit and Credit Use, but Spend Remains Down Overall
March 10, 2021

COVID-19 has continued to have an impact on consumer spend and payment methods, albeit to a lesser extent than during the first lockdown. While spending has generally decreased overall, there are a small proportion of cardholders who have increased debit and credit usage in the past 30 days as online shopping became more prevalent. Cash usage continues to show the greatest reductions, though a bit less extreme than W2-20, likely due to channel changes and hygiene concerns.

Auriemma’s data reflects reporting in UK Finance’s latest Card Spending Update, which also shows that those spending less on cards are doing so because they are spending less in general, while those spending more have increased their online shopping.

Cardholders Are Willing to Delay Rewards Redemption for Increased Value
March 3, 2021

Issuers of T&E cards may need to refresh their value proposition to keep cardholders engaged with their card as the travel industry continues to be impacted by COVID-19. According to Auriemma’s latest research, credit cardholders are willing to wait longer to redeem their rewards if doing so would increase their point’s value. This is especially true of T&E cardholders who can redeem them for high values and may not have had the opportunity to do so in recent months.

Instalment Plan Interest Drops During Pandemic (UK)
October 2, 2020

Though there continues to be notable interest in monthly instalment plans, Auriemma’s research saw a 16 percentage point drop between W1-20 and W2-20, likely due to uncertainty around cardholder’s financial future.

With COVID-19 still threatening some cardholder’s future earning potential, many may be hesitant to commit to ongoing payments.

Cardholders Cite High Take Rates for Low or No APR Offers during the Pandemic
September 14, 2020

Though only about one-quarter of credit cardholders say they were offered 0% APR on new purchases (24%) and/or reduced APR on new purchases (22%) during the last 3 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the observed take rates were high.

About half of those offered accepted, and many used their card more as a result—77% who accepted the 0% offer, and 66% who accepted the reduced APR offer, said they used the card more than typical after receiving the offer.

Cash Usage Drops Amid Hygiene Concerns
September 9, 2020

Cardholders Still Intend to Travel in 2020
September 4, 2020

Digital Servicing Options Going Strong During Pandemic
August 25, 2020

These Businesses May Struggle Upon Reopening—Consumers Aren’t Returning Anytime Soon
August 13, 2020

High-traffic, high-density businesses will likely struggle as business start to reopen following COVID-19 closures. Nearly half of cardholder don’t see themselves going to gyms, bars, or sporting events in the near future, and many of those who frequented various businesses prior to COVID-19 say they expect to go to those businesses less once they reopen.

Consumers Expect COVID-19 to Create a New Normal
August 11, 2020

According to Auriemma’s in-depth interviews with consumers, many anticipate a long road ahead before things return to normal, if ever.

Likelihood to Enroll in Installment Plans Increases for Some Due to COVID-19
August 7, 2020

Over one-quarter say COVID-19 has made them more likely to enroll in an installment plan and more cardholders are taking advantage of these options, particularly in-store (compared to Q4-19).

Spike in Contactless Payments Attributable to Physical Cards
August 4, 2020

Cardholders Respond Positively to Payment Accommodation Offers
July 30, 2020

Issuers have done a number of things over the course of 2020 to help cardholders through these uncertain times. About two-in-five cardholders say they were offered at least 1 of 5 tested payment accommodation in the past 6 months. And the take rate among those offered is high—most accepted the payment accommodation they were offered.

Brand Selections Flex Beyond Typical in Response to COVID-19 
July 16, 2020

According to Auriemma’s in-depth interviews with consumers, many have used different merchants, brands, and purchase channels than typical because of COVID-19.

COVID-19 Shortages Present Opportunities for New Brand and Merchant Loyalty 
July 14, 2020

COVID-19 has not only changed how consumers shop, but also where they shop. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of cardholders say they have become more willing to try new ways to shop. And 40% of recent online shoppers have tried shopping with new merchants since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Many cardholders said stores they regularly shop at were out of many items, that they needed to switch from their preferred brand to purchase an item they needed, and that they have visited stores they don’t normally shop at to find what they need.

Online Shopping Increases and Channel Preferences Shift Because of COVID-19
July 9, 2020

62% of cardholders are shopping online more than usual due to COVID-19, with some buying cleaning supplies, toiletries, and groceries for the first time via the channel as a result.

And although consumers have historically preferred in-store shopping for groceries (and most still do), a notable 31% say they prefer using digital channels (i.e., websites, mobile apps) to make grocery purchases.

UK Credit Card Issuers Are Waiving Missed Payment Fees for Most
June 10, 2020

64% of those charged a missed payment fee on their credit card had the fee waived. Few (8%) report missing credit card payments because of COVID-19, but these figures increase dramatically when looking at revolvers (16%) and sub-prime/near prime cardholders (23%).

Struggling Cardholders Struggle More Because of COVID-19
June 5, 2020

Sub-prime cardholders are more likely to report high levels of concern about their personal finances, and reasonably so. These individuals are disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic—notably higher proportions are missing credit card, bill, or loan payments as a result.

Younger Cardholders Embrace Innovative Payments Due to COVID-19
June 1, 2020
May 29, 2020
Compared to their older counterparts, Gen Z and Millennials made more behavioral changes as a result of COVID-19. These younger credit cardholders are more likely to have:
  • Used less cash over the last 3 months
  • Used online options, contactless, and P2P instead of cash
  • Stocked up on food
  • Ordered more delivery than usual
  • Placed more online orders than usual
  • Ordered items online they would normally buy in-store
SOURCE: Auriemma Group / Cardbeat US / Q1-2020

 

(New York, NY) Second look products provide credit card applicants the opportunity to acquire a card more aligned with their financial standing, often without having to undergo another full application process.  Auriemma Group’s latest issues of Cardbeat US® and The Payments Report uncovered how likely applicants are to take these secondary offers, and how interested they would be in programs that give them suggestions on how to improve their application before reapplying.

Less than one-fifth (16%) of credit cardholders report being offered a different card than they applied for after being declined. However, the take rate for these offers is very high, with 69% of those offered accepting the second look option.

“This high acceptance rate for secondary credit products highlights the need for credit by below prime customer segments,” says Carrie Luciano, Manager of Partnerships at Auriemma Group. “Many are willing to accept an alternative credit product if they were referred by the card they initially applied for.”

Auriemma’s research also found that while familiarity was an important factor when accepting second look card offers, those who have had an application rejected in the past year may be more open to a lesser-known provider. About half of credit cardholders (48%) believe a lesser-known issuer would offer a more attractive product than a known issuer—this figure increases to 72% when looking at those who have been rejected.

“For merchants, offering an alternative second look credit product provides a means to boost topline sales and improves the otherwise negative customer experience of being declined—by facilitating credit for those who need it,” says Luciano. “Second look programs also have an ancillary benefit of acting as a credit building tool for applicants who often get rejected.”

While second look programs provide applicants with alternative offers, there is appetite for programs that help consumers improve the approval odds and reapply. The Path to Apple Card program provides this opportunity to applicants Goldman Sachs believes could meet the application requirements if the program is completed. Once the program is successfully completed, applicants are invited to reapply for the Apple Card.

Auriemma’s research found that 48% of cardholders would be interested in enrolling in a program that would help them improve their application if it led to them being reconsidered for that card after a 6-month period. Interest in such a program was driven by those with FICO scores below 670 and revolvers.

“Credit help programs, like the Path to Apple Card program, offer a way to keep applicants engaged with their desired card product, even if their application initially falls below par,” says Luciano. “While second look offers solve for an immediate credit need, credit help programs could be attractive to those willing to wait.”

Second look and credit help program offerings are on the path to ubiquity—with elements that satisfy consumer need and create opportunities for issuer engagement. Providing them as a secondary option circumvents the potentially negative rejection experience and allows applicants another opportunity to access credit, either with a new provider or with their primary option following some application improvements.

With over 30 years of experience crafting profitable, long-lasting partnerships in the Cards and Payments industry, Auriemma and a history covering second look programs, Auriemma is well suited to assist with your partnership or research needs in this area. Contact Auriemma at (+1) 646-454-4200 to learn more.

Survey Methodology

Cardbeat US

This Auriemma Group study was conducted online within the US by an independent field service provider on behalf of Auriemma Group (Auriemma) in September 2020 among 813 adult credit cardholders. The number of interviews completed for both is sufficient to allow for statistical significance testing among sub-groups at the 95% confidence level ±5%, unless otherwise noted. The purpose of the research was not disclosed, nor did respondents know the criteria for qualifying. The average interview length was 17 minutes.

The Payments Report

This Auriemma Group study was conducted online within the US by an independent field service provider on behalf of Auriemma in September 2020, among 821 adult debit cardholders. The number of interviews completed on a monthly basis is sufficient to allow for statistical significance testing between sub-groups at the 95% confidence level ± 5%, unless otherwise noted. The purpose of the research was not disclosed nor did the respondents know the criteria for qualification. The average interview length was 26 minutes.

About Auriemma Group

For more than 30 years, Auriemma’s mission has been to empower clients with authoritative data and actionable insights. Our team comprises recognized experts in four primary areas: operational effectiveness, consumer research, co-brand partnerships, and corporate finance. Our business intelligence and advisory services give clients access to the data, expertise and tools they need to navigate an increasingly complex environment and maximize their performance. Auriemma serves the consumer financial services ecosystem from our offices in New York City and London. For more information, call Jaclyn Holmes (Research) or Carrie Luciano (Partnerships) at (+1) 646-454-4200.

Though users of Click to Pay tend to use the service more than once, PayPal continues to be the preferred pay button. PayPal has a slight edge over Click to Pay among Click to Pay users, but non-users express a strong preference for PayPal.

Issuer-offered installment plans are attractive to consumers, but many are looking for a convenient, seamless experience from sign-up thru plan management. Auriemma’s Mobile Pay Tracker conducted in-depth interviews with consumers to gain insights on their opinions and experiences with installment plans.

Much like contactless card usage, Mobile Pay adoption grew in 2020. According to Auriemma’s Wave 3 issue of Mobile Pay Tracker, 40% of those eligible to use mobile payments report doing so, level with the all-time peak reported in W2-20.

(New York, NY and London, UK) COVID-19 has put additional financial strain on cardholders globally, but some issuers are trying to lessen the immediate burden. Auriemma Group’s latest issues of Cardbeat US and UK uncover how the pandemic could be affecting on-time payments, which accommodations issuers are offering consumers to help ease the strain, and how card rotation is being impacted as a result.

While missing payments is not exclusive to COVID-19, wage cuts, job loss, and other unexpected financial stressors could make missed or late payments more common. According to Auriemma’s research, about one-sixth of cardholders in both markets say they have missed a payment over the last 6 months. During this time, unemployment figures in both regions increased, with many cardholders needing government aid. However, credit card issuers in both geographies are finding creative ways to assist cardholders through this unprecedented time.

Payment Holidays Provide Short-Term Relief

One of the many ways UK card issuers are helping relieve payment pressure for their cardholders is by offering payment holidays, which allows cardholders to miss monthly payments without penalty. Auriemma’s research found that 20% of UK credit cardholders were aware of the option to take a payment holiday from their issuer, and 33% of them accepted the offer.

The high take-rate is unsurprising given the circumstance. Pandemic-adjacent reasons are most often cited for their acceptance, including wanting to keep money in their bank account and that it would help with cash flow.

“Payment holidays offer a temporary solution for an immediate problem,” says Jaclyn Holmes, Director at Auriemma Group. “And while the accommodation has become a necessary offering for high street banks in this moment, issuers will need to determine and communicate its intended tenure before it becomes table stakes for their cardholders.”

Long-Term Accommodations Chart a Corrective Course

While payment holidays offer a short-term fix, impacted cardholders can be transitioned to other accommodations meant to improve their financial standing in the long-term. In the US, 40% of cardholders have been offered at least one of the accommodations tested in Auriemma’s study (e.g., a reduction in their monthly minimum payments or interest rate, waived interest charges, forbearance options, hardship programs)within the past 6 months.

According to Auriemma’s study, the top offers include increasing credit card limits (20%), offering hardship programs (17%), and providing forbearance options (16%). These accommodations are popular among those offered them, with over half accepting.

“Offering payment accommodations provides a halo effect for your brand,” says Holmes. “Those offered a payment accommodation say they felt more positively about their card issuer as a result, which, along with attractive rewards and benefits, could influence card selection when making a purchase.”

Accommodations and Attractive Rewards Could Impact Card Selection

Over six-in-ten cardholders in both regions report using multiple payment cards in the past 30 days. These individuals are also more likely than their counterparts who used a single payment card to have taken either a payment accommodation or a payment holiday. And while goodwill derived from payment accommodations has an ancillary influence on which card is chosen in the near-term, attractive rewards and benefits remain the main drivers of card choice, regardless of locale.

“When the dust settles, consumers struggling financially will look back on this time and remember which issuers had their back” says Holmes. “Rewards and benefits continue to be critical factors in card selection, but they’re not the only consideration at the moment. Issuers who give their cardholders both payment flexibility and relevant benefits during these uncertain times will be best suited to secure or maintain their top-of-wallet position.”

Survey Methodology

Cardbeat US

This Auriemma Group study was conducted online within the US by an independent field service provider on behalf of Auriemma Group (Auriemma) in June 2020 among 811 adult credit cardholders. The number of interviews completed for both is sufficient to allow for statistical significance testing among sub-groups at the 95% confidence level ±5%, unless otherwise noted. The purpose of the research was not disclosed, nor did respondents know the criteria for qualifying. The average interview length was 22 minutes.

Cardbeat UK

This Auriemma Group study was conducted online within the UK by an independent field service provider on behalf of Auriemma in July 2020, among 800 adult credit cardholders. The number of interviews completed on a monthly basis is sufficient to allow for statistical significance testing between sub-groups at the 95% confidence level ± 5%, unless otherwise noted. The purpose of the research was not disclosed nor did the respondents know the criteria for qualification. The average interview length was 20 minutes.

About Auriemma Group

For more than 30 years, Auriemma’s mission has been to empower clients with authoritative data and actionable insights. Our team comprises recognized experts in four primary areas: operational effectiveness, consumer research, co-brand partnerships, and corporate finance. Our business intelligence and advisory services give clients access to the data, expertise and tools they need to navigate an increasingly complex environment and maximize their performance. Auriemma serves the consumer financial services ecosystem from our offices in New York City and London. For more information, call Jaclyn Holmes at (+1) 646-454-4200.

Who do you contact when you have an issue with a purchase? Although the vast majority would contact the merchant first if they made a credit card purchase and didn’t receive the correct goods or services, credit card issuers tend to resolve most of these disputes.

Auriemma’s most recent issue of Cardbeat UK revealed that 59% of cardholders are familiar with the term ‘payment holiday’ though almost half are unsure as to its potential impact on credit scores, highlighting the potential need for education to ensure cardholders understand the possible effects on their personal circumstances.

Contactless card functionality plays a role when deciding on an MFU card for most. 54% of those whose contactless card became their MFU card in the past year report that their card’s contactless functionality was either the primary or secondary reason in their decision to make it their MFU payment method.

While major credit card issuers have offered the option to redeem rewards points as donations for years, some merchants are just now integrating this ability into their loyalty program.

 

 

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