Credit Card Issuers Push Right Online Hot Buttons

Credit Card Issuers Push Right Online Hot Buttons: Gomez

Latest G�mez Scorecard reveals elevated attention paid to existing customers via improved online access to statements and availability of near real-time account data and same day payment services

August 12, 2003, Waltham, MA — No longer viewed exclusively as a bastion of customer acquisition, credit card issuers are finally treating their Web sites as the place to strengthen and evolve customer relationships, according to an analysis released today by G�mez, Inc., the leading provider of Internet Channel Effectiveness solutions.

For example, the G�mez Q3 2003 Internet Credit Card Scorecard found a majority of issuers now offering online statements. G�mez research also detected a significant up-tick in the percentage of companies offering same-day payment functionality, a major attraction for online consumers.

Meanwhile, Citibank led the pack for the fourth consecutive ranking, fending off a host of active and aggressive competitors. Chief among Citi’s upgrades was a redesigned homepage, which resulted in faster load times during G�mez performance testing. Meanwhile, Chase, National City and Providian all made significant enhancements to their Web sites since the previous Scorecard. Chase, in fact, was the fast mover among the fast followers, accelerating six spots from ninth to third in the 18-issuer ranking.

Increased prevalence of online statements and same-day payment functionality in conjunction with new and improved decision-support tools make clear the industry’s push to not only attract customers via the Internet channel but also retain them through more usable and utilitarian Web presences.

“The profusion of needs analyzer tools and comparison matrices at sites industry-wide indicates the importance issuers are placing on the Internet to not only advise customers on the right card but as a means for creating sustainable relationships that extend beyond the initial credit offer,” noted Chris Musto, Vice President of Research, who concentrates on Internet banking and payment services.

A closer look at key findings from this Scorecard reveals:

  • Online statements are now the majority. With this Scorecard, the percentage of credit card issuers offering online statements reaches 72%. Both Providian and Chase rolled out this functionality since the previous ranking. Recent G�mez consumer market research indicates the move toward online statements makes sense. Among online adults who access their credit cards online but do not pay their bills at the card site, 65% identified online statements as part of the “ideal Web offering” (statements ranked first among this group).
  • Focus on the here and now. Within the past six months Chase and American Express have added same day payments. Recent G�mez consumer research indicates that customers place high value on the ability to make same-day payments. Among those paying their bills at the card issuer site, statements tied for second, with 52% identifying it as part of the ideal Web offering (online bill payment ranked first at 77%). Meanwhile, pending authorization information remains desirable, though less card issuers currently offer the functionality.

In fact, pending authorizations and same-day payments (offered at only 28% of Scorecard issuers) are just two examples of features which significantly enhance the value of online account management, Musto said.

“Issuers, moreover, will continue to focus on self-service functionality such as balance transfers, credit limit increases and adding an authorized cardholder to keep customers loyal, happy and working through the lower cost Internet channel,” Musto noted.

To qualify for this Scorecard, credit card issuers must first meet minimum criteria. Qualifying issuers are then rated against one another on the quality of their Internet delivery of credit card and related services to arrive at the issuers that comprise the published Scorecard. All firms listed on this Scorecard offer complete free online account opening for consumer credit cards (with no follow-up signature required) without affiliation (such as a union or club membership); provide the ability to view transaction history and balance information online without a checking account or any other type of relationship; and either issue American Express or Discover cards or rank in the top 20 issuers of Visa/Mastercard credit cards by outstandings, according to the Nilson Report (for issuers marketing to both online and offline users) or in the top 50 issuers of Visa/Mastercard credit cards by outstandings, according to the Nilson Report (for issuers marketing exclusively to online users).

About G�mez

G�mez serves companies that strategically depend on the effectiveness of their Internet channel to increase revenues and decrease expenses and provides the industry’s only comprehensive set of integrated solutions that help firms maximize the performance, functionality, and usability of their Internet channel.

G�mez Scorecards bi-annually measure the quality of e-commerce offerings, with a predominant focus on the Internet channel and a secondary focus on auxiliary channels and measures. Scorecards rank all firms in an industry that meet minimum standards of service (typically in terms of depth and breadth of product and national availability), and provide a snapshot of how industry players compare and contrast across user profiles and usage categories.

G�mez’s primary investors include: Dolphin Equity Partners of New York; Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures, the London-based venture capital fund of Doughty Hanson & Co; DB Capital Venture Partners, the venture capital arm of Deutsche Bank; and Harbinger/Aurora Funds of Research Triangle Park, NC.

G�mez, G�mez.com, G�mezPro, G�mez Scorecards, G�mez Performance Network and Internet Quality Measurement are trademarks and/or service marks of G�mez, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. For more details contact: Alan Alper, director of marketing communications at (781) 768-2147 or aalper@gomez.com.