Tag Archive for: rewards

(New York, NY) Bitcoin has been around for over a decade but continues to find its footing with consumers less familiar with it. Famously first used to purchase Papa John’s pizza in 2010, the cryptocurrency’s value has grown from $725 in 2015 to over $64,000 as of this writing, creating some investment winners and losers along the way. Auriemma Group’s latest issue of Mobile Pay Tracker investigated consumers’ relationship with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general, uncovering who knows about it, who has it, what they’re using it for, how they’d like to use it in the future, and more.

1. Lack of understanding prevents cryptocurrency ubiquity.

Cryptocurrency has captured mainstream attention since its launch, but few consumers truly understand how it works—74% say they are a cryptocurrency novice. While some may be able to speak about it generally, its unlikely your average cryptocurrency holder is explaining the blockchain to their friends. Overall, though, nearly everyone (96%) has at least heard of cryptocurrency, highlighting just how culturally significant it has become during its relatively short tenure.

“As a payments ecosystem, cryptocurrency will need to become more widely understood for it to truly flourish,” says Jaclyn Holmes, Director of Research at Auriemma Group. “But low levels of understanding may be enough for a casual investment, even if the currency is far from becoming the decentralized alternative to cash.”

2. About one-in-six consumers currently own a cryptocurrency.

Age plays a notable role in cryptocurrency ownership, with some Gen X and Baby Boomer consumers likely hesitant to use it as an investment vehicle due to its volatility. With more time to absorb the ebbs and flows of the market and more openness to emerging payment types, Gen Z and Millennial cardholders are more likely to hold cryptocurrency (25%-30%).

“Not only do younger cardholders have the advantage of time when it comes to cryptocurrency investing,” says Holmes. “The group is also generally more open to novel technologies and approaches in the payments space. We’ve seen it with mobile payments, P2P payments, contactless technology, and more.”

Still, without high levels of understanding, 57% of those who own cryptocurrency say it comprises less than one-quarter of their overall savings/investment portfolio. Though thousands of cryptocurrencies are in circulation, Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Ethereum are the most owned among consumers (7-11%).

3. Those with cryptocurrency want more.

Looking ahead, one-quarter of consumers are interested in buying or receiving cryptocurrency in the next 12 months. This figure increases to 81% among those who currently hold cryptocurrency. Even those who used to hold cryptocurrency show increased interest (49%), which exemplifies the largely positive experience those who have ever held it have had with the product.

“While traditionally bought and sold proactively, we’ve noticed passive opportunities for cryptocurrency acquisition sprouting up across the payments space. Venmo, for example, now allows its users to redeem their funds for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, or Bitcoin Cash,” says Holmes. “It wouldn’t be surprising if it became a common redemption option for credit card rewards programs.”

In fact, cryptocurrency as a cash back reward is of interest to one-third of consumers, while those who currently hold cryptocurrency are even more interested (75%). That isn’t to say cryptocurrency rewards will become table stakes, but they could certainly become a program sweetener, particularly for younger cardholders looking for a low-risk way to participate in the space.

4. It’s considered a long-term investment, not liquid funds.

Though cryptocurrency can sometimes appear to be a get-rich-quick scheme, the reality is that those who hold it broadly think of it as a long-term (38%), not a short-term (13%) investment. Still, knowledge remains key. Losing the errant dollar to a defunct cryptocurrency may not change one’s financial future, but an overzealous investor could lose a lot of money quickly, like this Shanghai investor who purchased Squid Game crypto.

“Some consumers simply play around with cryptocurrency to see what happens, but this could become a high-risk endeavor for those offering up their life savings,” says Holmes. “Issuers can play in this space by offering their cardholders the opportunity to buy into cryptocurrency without such a large price tag—using rewards points to purchase smaller portions of trusted cryptocurrency providers.”

Without the infrastructure to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment at the point-of-sale, it will largely be seen as an investment product. Few (14%) see cryptocurrency as liquid funds for purchases, but if presented with the option to use theirs for a purchase at the point-of-sale, about half are likely.

Why should banks care about cryptocurrency?

While cryptocurrency is still relatively new and transaction volume remains low for the industry, it is undoubtedly a growing space. Those looking to play in the space will need to remain conscious of evolving regulation to ensure compliance needs are met. Still, banks and issuers can act as a refuge for consumers looking to dip their toe in without the exposure that comes with committing their hard-earned dollars to the investment. Providing cardholders the option to earn or redeem their account rewards as cryptocurrency allows them to passively participate in the space in a way that feels lower-risk, particularly for those new and just looking to play around.

Survey Methodology

Mobile Pay Tracker

This Auriemma Group study was conducted online within the US by an independent field service provider on behalf of Auriemma Group (Auriemma) in July 2021 among 2,003 adult mobile pay eligible 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.

About Auriemma Group

For more than 35 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.

(London):  UK cardholders have 1.77 credit cards in their wallet on average, and while some may assume consumers aren’t in the market for a new card, the majority are actually open to new card offers. But consumers aren’t settling for just any card, and to earn their business, issuers need to be smart about their products’ value propositions and how they’re marketed. In the densely populated field of credit card options, how can issuers stand apart from the pack? Offering the best rewards is a good start, according to new data from Auriemma Group. But consumers want more. Here are some of the more compelling ways issuers can increase their chances of getting into consumers’ wallets.

  1. Offer attractive rewards.

No matter the category, rewards continue to push consumers over the tipping point when making acquisition decisions. When faced with the long list of elite options, the 66% of respondents interested in acquiring another rewards card most frequently cited the richness of rewards as the chief factor for their selection. But just offering rewards isn’t enough.

  1. Highlight your card’s exclusivity and prestige.

When some consumers select a card, they do so because the card embodies a particular lifestyle. Aspirational or otherwise, cards perceived as prestigious (28%) and those with the best benefits (21%) (e.g., exclusive events, lounge access) are highly coveted by those looking for a new card. This group seeks cards that tout platinum or titanium status, viewing them as having the most enticing benefits.

  1. Maintain a well-known and respected public image.

Card selection is also heavily impacted by the familiarity with and reputation of your brand. Among those surveyed, approximately three-quarters (73%) indicated they would be unlikely to take a card from a brand they are unfamiliar with. Consumers over 55 years old were even more likely to say this (83% vs. 67% under 55). Likewise, 74% reported a brand’s reputation (positive or negative) would impact their decision, a factor even more important for cardholders under 55 (79% vs. 65% of 55+). And 21% of current cardholders in the market for a new card say they would base their decision on their personal affinity for the brand associated with it.

  1. If you’re UK-based, tell people!

Consumers see real value in products from issuers who have a distinct presence in the UK: 73% of cardholders said it was important for their card issuer to be headquartered in the UK. In fact, if rewards and rates were equal, 77% of cardholders with a preference would prefer their issuer have a national presence (vs. 23% global). UK-based issuers that are not calling attention to their geographical connection to cardholders are missing an opportunity to increase their wallet share and acquire new customers.

“Issuers who can effectively communicate these four attributes stand the best chance of acquiring new customers,” says Jaclyn Holmes, Director of Payment Insights at Auriemma. “The challenge will be in striking the proper balance and ensuring your message is targeting the correct consumers.”

Survey Methodology

This study was conducted online within the UK by an independent field service provider on behalf of Auriemma in June 2017, among 500 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.

About Auriemma Consulting Group

Auriemma is a boutique management consulting firm with specialised focus on the Payments and Lending space.  We deliver actionable solutions and insights that add value to our clients’ business activities across a broad set of industry topics and disciplines.  Founded in 1984, Auriemma has grown from a one-man shop to a nearly 50-person firm with offices in London and New York.  For more information, contact Jaclyn Holmes at 020 7629 0075.

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