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Are credit cards failing the customer expectation test?

Customer satisfaction has now become the next competitive frontier. Consumer expectations of the products and services they use are rising. Better quality, more convenience, improved speed, and attractive incentives are in the mix.

Today’s customer is driven by context and wants every engagement to be relevant to a narrative that matters to them. The expectations from credit cards are no different.

The veterans of the industry remember when consumers typically applied for cards in the bank that held their checking account. The relationship between card issuer and holder was multi-faceted and spanned an array of transactions. Stickiness was more and transaction growth was steady but assured. Of course, those days are behind us. Today, consumers have credit cards from alternative bank sources, the retail brands they consume more, and other non-traditional financial institutions.

Credit cards are now not only a method to make purchases but a tool to “enable” healthy financial habits. Credit card features help in building an impressive credit history, provide insights into spending, and thereby help consumers make smart spending decisions.

Customers also expect their credit cards to provide them with a suite of rewards and benefits. Whether it is bonus points, travel perks, or cashbacks on qualified purchases, the message is clear – any card worth having must provide great rewards.

Change may be coming to the sector, though. Research shows that Millennials and Gen Z prefer digital payments and debit cards over credit cards. With these sectors being key customer demographics for driving growth, it is becoming even more essential for card providers to work harder to generate a genuine emotional response from the customer and create compelling reasons to drive credit card adoption.

What do customers want?

The success or failure of a credit card program may depend on its ability to surpass customer expectations. Customers today are becoming used to innovative payment experiences. They are, therefore attracted to credit card programs that offer greater personalization and a frictionless payment experience. This apart, consumers are now consciously evaluating the value that they get from their credit cards. They want greater control and flexibility from their credit card programs. They demand greater responsiveness and value-driven reward structures from credit card programs. Accounting for generational preferences, therefore, becomes essential while designing these programs.

Driving customer experience

Card program managers and designers must create compelling card programs that deliver elevated customer experiences. For this knowing what the demographic wants and understanding all the elements that can influence customer experience are now mandatory. Customers of a certain age, for example, could only accept same-day resolutions of issues and complaints. Or they could demand more feature flexibilities that fulfill their evolving needs. Whatever the case, the program manager has to know what customers want and make sure that their card programs provide the same.

Agile strategies and programs

Customers are attracted by the lure of instant gratification even in the credit card segment. Apple, for example, posts rewards on customer accounts daily. The customers can use these rewards to pay for transactions the very next day. The cards that are built on modern technology can enable this rather easily and keep pace with evolving customer expectations. The players who are tied to a legacy technology backbone for transaction processing can find this a challenge. As such, program managers must become more agile and embrace flexible systems that allow them to acquire first mover’s advantage when needed.

Deliver greater value

Program managers also need to identify ways in which they can fit the credit card program into the everyday lives of the customer. Digital payments are taking root in consumer behavior. Credit card programs have a fight on their hands to become embedded into the consumer’s life fabric once again. Identifying ways to extend product offerings with agility and speed, offer new options to customers, creating compelling statement messages for marketing, score-based automated credit limit approvals, etc. go a long way.

How can organizations meet these expectations?

Constantly evolving customer needs and an increasingly competitive market are now endemic. To attract and retain customers, program managers must design compelling credit card programs that find relevance in the life of the customer. What program managers need is the capability to responsively infuse their programs with relevance to changing customer needs.

Technology adoption

In this narrative, modern technology-driven enablement is essential. Technology will allow the program manager to create compelling programs by revamping everything from payments and processing to operations and extending to customer service.

Program managers also need the capability to launch relevant programs faster. As such, a credit card transaction processing platform powered by the right technologies becomes critical to program success. It is only with such a robust platform that organizations can either license their own system and integrate with 3rd parties or issue cards from the platform’s processing environment. Ensuring correct, fast, and agile full package implementation helps program managers launch relevant programs into the market faster.

Program managers also need the flexibility to add new features and product ideas to their base products and capably integrate features to the base payment systems. Supplementing these programs and enabling mobile payments is also an important consideration. Using a customized mobile application framework that matches the look, feel, and requirements of the feature set also contribute greatly to the success of credit card programs today.

Of course, this cannot be achieved if organizations are still dependent on ancient card processing systems. Employing a fully functional, comprehensive transaction processing and account management platform can completely transform your credit card program. It helps organizations manage and create all aspects of their card programs including prepaid, fleet, credit card (private label and branded networks), and accounts receivables as well.

Leveraging the right technologies helps organizations design robust, and strong, programs that are integrated into the day-to-day lives of the customer. Becoming the ‘top-of-the-wallet’ card then becomes an inevitable outcome of these efforts. Connect with us to know the role of modern technology in empowering your cards program.


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