- Signaling the importance of credit card perks, nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents to a Bank of America consumer survey said the reason they applied for a new credit card is to access its rewards. Of the 928 U.S. consumers surveyed, seven in 10 had multiple credit cards, and the majority chose their primary card because it had the best rewards.
- In the survey, 69% of respondents cited cash back as one of their most valued reward categories, followed by 33% who cited credit card points.
- Out of the 80% of respondents who had credit cards, nearly half (43%) had a Capital One card, making it it the most popular choice, and in second place, more than a third (36%) had a Chase card, according to the survey.
The Sept. 29 Bank of America Global Research report noted that most of the survey respondents said they anticipated spending the same amount on their credit cards over the next year, but American Express primary card users said they plan to spend more. Of the 968 consumers polled in the survey last month, 928 responded, the bank said in a statement regarding the results emailed to Payments Dive.
For those that chose Citibank or Discover Financial for their primary credit card, about eight in 10 said cashback rewards were the most important perk.
Bank credit card issuers and the card networks that serve them have faced a tumultuous economic environment lately. While rising inflation gives a boost to consumer spending and is generally a boon for revenue, the precarious financial position of consumers can lead to higher debt loads and increased risk for delinquencies, especially given higher interest rates.
Earlier this year, American Express posited an optimistic outlook for its future despite rising inflation. AmEx CEO Steve Squeri said during a conference that the company’s executives anticipate inflation slowing next year and that they have yet to observe customers acting as if a recession is imminent. In its second-quarter earnings report, Amex noted inflation has driven an increase in spending, helping boost revenue 31% to $13.4 billion year-over-year for the period, though operating costs also rose 28% to $3.3 billion.
As bank credit card issuers use incentives to compete for consumers, their practices are coming under scrutiny from financial regulators. In August, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it wants to facilitate greater credit card transparency for consumers. The regulator also noted that the largest card issuers had many card offers with a variety of rates, rewards and fees.
Meanwhile, Congress members this year have proposed a bill to spark more competition between the two credit card networks that dominate the U.S. market namely, Visa and Mastercard. In response to the proposed legislation, Electronic Payments Coalition chairman Jeff Tassey noted that such legislation could have the effect of taking away consumers’ credit card rewards.