Consumer Payment Card News

Card Commando

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What does it take to slay the competition on the credit card issuer playing field? For starters you’ll need to cough up more than $1.1 billion in annual marketing expenses. You will also need state-of-the-art information technology capable of harvesting terabyte farms of consumer data. Also add to the mix a full line of thoughtfully designed card products. These ingredients of success are part of Capital One’s arsenal. Last year, the Virginia-based issuer creamed the competition by growing its card business more than 69%. The closest, major competitor, was Providian, which grew a mere 23%. On average, the top ten U.S. issuers of bank credit cards grew 11% last year. Even though it spent $1.087 billion on marketing, Capital One has almost a surgical approach on which products it offers certain consumers. The issuer has also focused on the more profitable, lower balance accounts, leaving its competitors fight over the lower yielding super-prime accounts. Capital One continues to issue credit cards with initial credit limits of $300 or less. During 2001, the issuer launched a major campaign for its “No Hassle” credit cards which promise no telemarketing calls or nuisance pricing.

                              TOP TEN 2001
ISSUER                   CARD LOANS    CHANGE
1. Citibank               $108.9b*     +5.5%
2. MBNA                   $ 74.9b      +6.4%
3. First USA              $ 68.2b      +1.8%
4. Discover               $ 49.3b*     +4.7%
5. Chase                  $ 40.9b      +13.0%
6. Capital One            $ 38.4b*     +69.2%
7. Providian              $ 32.9b      +23.2%
8. American Express       $ 32.0b      +11.5%
9. Bank of America        $ 27.2b      +18.3%
10. Household             $ 16.1b      + 5.9%
TOTAL                       $488.8b    +11.0%

* Citibank includes data from Canada and Mexico; Capital One may include some
international data; Discover data as of 11/30/01

Source: CardData (www.carddata.com) RAM Research Group’s Bankcard Barometer

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