Future of Credit Card Rewards

By Debasis Mohanty . March 07, 2023 . Blogs

Constant innovations and emerging trends in the payment space have brought about several accelerating winds of change in the credit card industry. Stringent regulatory guidelines, progressive industry initiatives, and evolving customer expectations have ushered in a new era of technology-driven, touchless transactions. As alternate payment methods emerge (and evolve), the card industry is struggling to stay afloat. So, what’s to come for the credit card industry? What does the future of credit card rewards look like? Let’s find out!


The Current State of Credit Card Rewards

Credit cards have, for a very long time, enabled people to make quick and easy payments. However, ever since the pandemic, several behavioral and technological changes have brought about a slew of instant payment options around the world, putting the credit card industry in jeopardy. Many users now prefer digital wallets and voice payments to payments via credit cards, which has made customer retention a dreadful challenge. 

Yet, there is still a large market for credit cards. In 2023, the worldwide credit card purchases made using Visa cards alone are forecasted to reach over $5 trillion. As the credit card industry continues to boom, rewards are a booming business opportunity for issuers and are popular among consumers across the credit spectrum. According to a 2021 consumer credit card market report, even people with very low credit ratings put over 60% of their credit card purchase volumes on rewards cards.

In today’s ever-evolving market, high-value rewards can encourage cardholders to keep accounts open long-term. Let’s look at the bottlenecks (and opportunities) that have to be catered to: 

  • Today’s banking customers demand exceptional redemption flexibility; for instance, as travel picks up pace again, many now want to redeem miles for purchases on takeout, delivery, and streaming and extend the option to other avenues as well. 
  • Despite the growth of digital wallets and cashless transactions, users with credit cards expect companies to charm them with sign-up bonuses or benefits, from airport lounge access to reimbursement of checked bag fees and more. 
  • While buying new things and getting rewards is exciting for any customer, they do not want to face the brunt of hidden costs associated with all the points and miles, and cash-back offers they earn. 
  • A large percentage of customers also expect banks and credit unions to know their interests, even before they ask, making personalization, not just a perk but a requirement. 
  • Although credit card issuers are constantly evaluating how they can add the most value to their cardholders’ wallets, customers want to be able to stay on top of their own spending and get better clarity on which rewards can help them maximize the purchases they spend on most.

As technology (and the world in general) continues to metamorphize at an accelerated pace, how can credit unions keep up?


Shaping the Future 

With the world entering a new era of cashless transactions, credit card reward programs also need to transform at a rapid pace. The future calls for enhanced user experiences, improved accessibility, and expanded options. Let’s look at what credit unions can do to shape the future and sail smoothly:

Offer Exciting Programs

Credit unions looking to keep up with the pace of development need to provide members with exciting rewards programs and incentives – from exclusive merchandise to event tickets, travel vouchers to cash savings, and more. They also need to offer more choices for members to redeem points and allow them to use their reward points to make purchases online or in-store.

Think Long-Term

Credit issuers need to plan for offering a full suite of rewards products that enable benefits to consumers in the long run. Whether the goal is to reach people focused on increasing savings or budgeting, a long-term rewards program can enable customers to achieve their financial goals and earn more on their regular expenses.

Leverage Technology

As online banking and cashless transactions break records left, right, and center, companies will need to leverage technology to deliver better user experiences with more accessibility and redemption options. To make the most of digital advancements, they will have to harness the capabilities of modern technology and pivot the business with speed and confidence.

Engage with Digital Partners

As the credit card industry transitions through challenging times marked by evolving customer expectations, hyper-personalizing engagements and offering strategically relevant products and services is the need of the hour. To survive and thrive in the Banking 4.0 era, engaging with partners that embed the latest trends into customer experiences is critical. A specialized partner that carries contextual knowledge of the business can help suggest appropriate and actionable strategies and handhold them through the execution lifecycle to eventual success.

Build a Winning Transformation Strategy

Today’s banks need a winning transformation strategy powered by insights from data that can be executed at scale, with speed and certainty across the organization. To that end, optimizing business models can help withstand financial and non-financial threats, and implementing resilient and agile platforms can enable high-impact and long-term results.

Forge Alliances

To fine-tune offers to meet customer needs and reward affinity, issuers must also leverage partnerships with companies to create co-branded credit cards for niche markets. For instance, offering credit card rewards for sports team fanatics can pave the way for direct benefits, like discounts on merchandise, free passes to sporting events, and cash-back multipliers, enticing consumers to spend more on the brands they already love.


The Bottom Line

As the shift toward remote banking and digital wallets continues to accelerate, credit card companies must make major changes to their rewards programs to retain existing customers and attract new ones. Embracing digital technologies to offer flexible and personalized incentives and other exciting vouchers and cash-back options to members is a great way to navigate the current business landscape and maintain relevance.

At Verinite, we deploy a comprehensive range of proven methodologies to help financial institutions reimagine their business and build future-ready business models. We put together digital strategy roadmaps, draft appropriate agile product development methodologies, and build agile IT infrastructure so that credit unions can unlock true and sustained business value – today and every day!

Contact us to understand how you can leverage our services to up your credit card rewards game! 

Debasis Mohanty

Debasis heads the delivery for all client engagements at Verinite. He has a long track record of delivering high quality, responsive, secure and cost-effective business and technology solutions in BFSI domain. Outside his work, he is an amateur animator, a sports enthusiast, a voracious reader and a Trivia buff.

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