Consumer Payment Card News

Snob Appeal

The king of the affluent cardholder segment is slowly seeing their empire weaken. VISA’s high-end “Signature” card, which is a combo of a credit card and a charge card, has racked up approximately $80 billion in transaction volume, more than American Express “Gold” and “Platinum” combined. Furthermore, VISA estimates it now has 16 million cardholders with annual incomes of more than $100,000, compared to 5 million for American Express. On average, these affluent cardholders spend 2.5 times more each month on their credit cards than average cardholders. VISA says the “Signature” card program, which launched six years ago, represents less than 3% of VISA cards in U.S. circulation today, but accounts for 17% of VISA USA’s total credit volume. To put more heat on American Express, VISA this week launched an extensive marketing program to promote the benefits of the “Signature” product.

Besides premium travel insurance coverage, roadside emergency dispatch, lost luggage reimbursement, and access to a full range of special offers, upgrades and discounts, the “VISA Signature” card offers no pre-set spending limit. This enables cardholders to exceed their pre-set credit limit based on their ability to pay. After the billing cycle closes, the cardholder is responsible for paying the amount over the credit line by the statement due date. VISA Signature also offers access to reservations for hard-to-reserve tables at popular and new restaurants, free room upgrades at available hotels and resorts, and, access to a team of expert personal assistants who can help with travel reservations, entertainment plans, meeting arrangements, shopping and special requests. For additional information on VISA Signature visit: “http://www.usa.visa.com/personal/cards/visa_signature.html”:http://www.usa.visa.com/personal/cards/visa_signature.html

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