31 July, 2001
ASB Bank Reviews Reward Programme Following Increased Credit Card Use
ASB BANK has reviewed its True Rewards credit card loyalty programme in response to changes in consumer credit card behaviour.
ASB BANK General Manager Marketing and Human Resources, Barbara Chapman, says ASB BANK’s reward programme, True Rewards, is proving popular, with a significant increase in customer credit card use since it first launched in 1998.
“ASB BANK was the first bank to bring a credit card based reward programme to the market three years ago. Since then we’ve seen some major changes to credit card behaviour from our customers. They’re a lot smarter with their spending, and many choose to pay off their bill within the 55 interest free day period. The change in customer spending behaviour means we need to reassess the structure of True Rewards.
“We’ve been in a position to monitor the considerable shifts in credit card spending behaviour for some time. These days, far more customers are using credit cards to purchase common household items. In fact credit card transactions as a percentage of total bank transactions, have increased by 75% from the first quarter of 1999 and the same period in 2001.
“This additional spending on credit cards means that more and more people are earning loyalty points, but a diminishing percentage of those people are paying any interest. As a result, we need to review the point values for the scheme, and introduce an annual $10 fee, so that the scheme continues to pay for itself.
“We have also observed our customers rewards preferences and are growing our partnership base by adding two more major brands, Whitcoulls and Sounds music stores, bringing the national brand partners involved with True Rewards to 15.
“Over the past three years we’ve come to know our customers a lot better. Through True Rewards we’ve learnt they prefer attainable items far more than luxury goods. By introducing more variety with partners like Whitcoulls and Sounds, we’re increasing the value of the programme to our customers,” said Barbara Chapman.
“We have always believed rewards associated with our programme should be based on reducing the everyday cost of living for our customers, so we partner companies which offer reward items used on a regular basis. While customers can apply their rewards to luxury items also, the difference between True Rewards and other loyalty credit card schemes is that we base ours on realistic, attainable rewards for our customers.
“One dollar spent equals one True Rewards point, so if you choose to spend $100 on groceries a week, you will get 100 True Rewards points. As these points accrue they can be used to discount your regular shopping items, such as groceries from Woolworths, or you can choose to redeem your points with any other partner on the programme.”
Barbara Chapman said that while the majority of True Rewards points levels have remained constant, prices of products and services have increased since the programme launched in 1998.
“This is the first full programme adjustment in point values since the scheme first launched three years ago and reflects a mixture of changes in customers credit card behaviour, increasing costs in some areas, and reduced discounts in others. However the strong increase in credit card use and good uptake of True Rewards is a clear signal that customers continue to value a reward scheme with a broad range of high quality partners.”
The $10 annual membership fee per card to True Rewards members will be phased in from September 1 when the other changes come into effect. Barbara Chapman says most other credit card loyalty programmes have the membership fee already built into their programme’s pricing structure.
“ASB BANK’s preference is to isolate this fee so that customers are clear about what they are paying for. At $5 every six months, we still have one of the lowest fees of any credit card loyalty programme in the market.”
Changes to the True Rewards programme will be personally communicated to each True Rewards customer during August 2001.