Corporate Insight recently surveyed 1,884 consumer credit card holders in September 2019 to gather insights into their expectations, behaviors, preferences and satisfaction rates with their card issuers. Unsurprisingly, providing competitive rewards looks to be the key battleground to win new card holders or earn top-of-wallet status for credit card issuers. Over half (57%) of the respondents surveyed stated that attractive rewards were one of the primary reasons they selected a card, followed by the issuer having a brand name they trust (30%) and low fees (24%).

What were the top reasons you chose to open your primary credit card?

While reasonable rates and a competitive reward structures are important to consumers, they do not capture all that matters in the client relationship. The digital experience is also increasingly important in this space, and to create or maintain a best-in-class digital experience, firms must understand how their platforms measure up to competitor offerings. Our survey found that engaging digital platforms are increasingly important to consumers: 70% of respondents stated that their provider’s website was “very important” or “extremely important” and 75% of mobile users gave similar importance ratings to the mobile app experience. Website and mobile app usage data fortifies the importance of providing an excellent digital experience: 61% of consumers who track their accounts online log in to their issuer’s website at least once a week, with 12% logging in daily. Mobile app logins are even more frequent: 75% of consumers who use their issuer’s mobile app to track their accounts log in at least once a week. Checking the account balance was the most common activity performed by card holders in the past year (78%), but consumers were also conducting a variety of other activities: 70% of consumers made a payment, 56% checked their reward balance, 35% redeemed a reward and 13% changed their password or user ID.

Within the past 12 months, which of the following activities have you performed using your primary card’s website?

With such high usage rates, it is imperative that firms provide digital experiences that meet their clients’ expectations. Fortunately, consumers tend to have a good relationship with their primary credit card provider. With regard to satisfaction with the card issuer website, 91% of card holders stated that they are either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their current credit card provider’s website. As only 44% responded that they are “very satisfied” with the website, there is still room for improvement. Our survey found similar results for card issuers’ mobile apps, with 90% of respondents either being “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their issuer’s mobile app.

There are a multitude of improvement opportunities for leading card issuers regarding the digital capabilities they provide to card holders. Corporate Insight’s Credit Card Digital Audit benchmarks a card issuer’s website against those of its key competitors, with the primary goal of identifying key improvement opportunities and strategic recommendations that, if followed, would lead to a best-in-class digital experience. Using our proprietary Audit grading framework, we rate the authenticated card holder client site and all selected competitors across over 200 individual attributes spanning eight core categories: Account Information, Website Design & Usability, Mobile App Experience, Payments, Rewards, Account Alerts, Account Servicing and Prospect Experience.

The Audit framework, grade definitions and criteria are based on industry best practices we have identified from nearly two decades’ worth of research from our Credit Card Monitor research services, which tracks the card holder experience of 11 leading credit card issuers. Recommendations are drawn from the Audit’s gap analysis, industry best practices and digital preferences of consumer card holders, which were collected through our in-depth September 2019 Credit Card Survey. Our Audit is designed to help drive strategic planning efforts through actionable recommendations with the end goal of providing clients a better digital experience.

Initial findings from our Audit indicate that even leading card issuers have room for improvement if they want to deliver compelling digital experiences to card holders. Account Servicing and Rewards are two categories where we identified the greatest ranges in performance. Few firms truly excel with the card management capabilities they offer clients. For example, despite its importance to consumers, card locking capabilities and balance transfer interfaces are far from ubiquitous. USAA stands out for providing the greatest range of services in our coverage set, offering 15 of the 17 card management functions we benchmark in the Audit.

The wide range of scores in the Rewards category is even more concerning as our survey identified this as one of the most crucial components of the credit card experience to consumers. In fact, more firms fall within the Poor and Fair ranges than Good and Excellent. Chase is a leader here with its comprehensive Ultimate Rewards microsite that provides a wealth or strong features and program information in a well-designed standalone interface. The firm provides multiple summary dashboards on both the reward microsite homepage and dedicated Reward Activity sections that include earning rates, current balances, redemption options and other card benefits.

For more information about our Credit Card Digital Audit, click here.

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