For Immediate Release
April 27, 2015

ABA Media Contact: Jeff Sigmund
(202) 663-5439
Email: jsigmund@aba.com
Follow us on Twitter: @ABABankers

ABA Report: Reward Cards Rising in Popularity, Valued Among Consumers

​An overwhelming majority of credit card users — 83 percent — have rewards programs associated with their cards according to a new survey released by the American Bankers Association.  This figure is an increase from the 77 percent who said they had rewards programs on at least one of their cards in November of 2012.  ABA has released this and other data in the latest issue of The Credit Line, which examined the marketplace for rewards and how consumers use them.

According to the survey, nine in 10 cardholders (93 percent) find their rewards programs easy to understand.  A majority (57 percent) said they were “very easy to understand,” while 36 percent said they were “somewhat easy to understand.” 

“The increased prevalence of rewards cards speaks to their importance among consumers who appreciate being rewarded for their loyalty,” said Molly Wilkinson, executive director of ABA’s Card Policy Council.  “Cardholders find it easy to take advantage of the best deals based on the type of rewards they value the most.  The wide variety of rewards programs and the fact that they’re user-friendly are just two of the many reasons they are so popular in today’s marketplace.”

Cash-Back is King Among Consumers
The survey found that cash-back is not only the most common reward (utilized by 51 percent of card holders) – it is also the most appealing to consumers.  A majority of cardholders (55 percent) identified cash-back cards as the credit card reward program that appeals to them the most.  General points cards that allow points collected to be redeemed for things like gift cards and electronics rank second in cardholder preference (23 percent), followed by airline miles (13 percent), hotel points cards (5 percent) and other types of rewards programs (1 percent).  Only 2 percent of credit card holders say that nothing appeals to them when it comes to reward programs offered by credit card issuers.

The primary motivation for cardholders when choosing a credit card varied, but most indicate three factors that come into play: a low APR (35 percent), a valuable rewards program (29 percent) and the absence of a specific type of fee (25 percent).

Consumer Satisfaction: More Than 90 Percent Happy with Their Cards
The survey found that 78 percent of U.S. adults have at least one credit card, including 33 percent who have three cards or more.  Among respondents who have a credit card, nine in 10 (91 percent) say that they are satisfied with their credit cards, including nearly half (46 percent) who say they are very satisfied.  

“Providing excellent customer service is of paramount importance to card issuers,” Wilkinson said.  “Valuable rewards programs and rapid response to customer concerns are just two ways issuers are meeting consumer needs day in and day out.”

About the Survey
These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted March 11 to 13, 2015. For the survey, a sample of 1,006 U.S. adults age 18 and over was interviewed online, including 774 respondents who say that they have at least one credit card. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents.

The data were weighted to the U.S. current population data by gender, age, region and household income based on Census data.  Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls.  All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding.

The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $15 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ more than 2 million people, safeguard $11 trillion in deposits and extend more than $8 trillion in loans.

###