July 29, 2003, 12:00 AM

The Internet is a new frontier for retail card issuers, says new report

Retailers are ignoring the Internet in the battle for market share of credit cards, says a new report from FiSite Research. A benefit of allowing cardholders to manage their accounts online is the opportunity to influence sales, the report says.

 

Retailers are ignoring the Internet in the battle for market share of credit cards, says a new report from FiSite Research. “Very few retail cards are being managed online,” says Paul Jamieson, president and director of analytics. “Retailers have been losing relationships that that share of the market represents.”

By contrast, banks have been strong in allowing customers to manage their credit card accounts online, he says. “There has been a significant amount of development by banks in the online credit card experience for cardholders,” he says.

Banks and other card issuers such as American Express and Discover allow customers to go to a web site where they can view their balances, and pay their statements. While cardholders are at the site, issuers try to entice them into other activities, such as shopping or obtaining coupons for use online.

In fact, FiSite’s Summer 2003 Consumer Online Credit Card Survey reports that 71% of cardholders who manage their accounts online are very interested or somewhat interested in receiving electronic coupons from a credit card site for use on the web and 64% are very interested or somewhat interested in being able to search for merchandise from a credit card site. Even among those who don’t use the Internet to manage their card accounts, interest is high in those services: 58% are very interested or somewhat interested in electronic coupons and 60% are very interested or somewhat interested in merchandise search from a credit card site. The survey was sponsored by credit card processor Total System Services Inc. and is available to other card issuers.

“There’s a blur taking place with issuers like Chase and American Express experimenting with online shopping services,” Jamieson says. “That gives the banks another opportunity to influence usage on that card by steering consumers to shopping sites.”

Retailers can compete by creating the same experience at their sites that customers experience at other issuers’ sites, Jamieson says. “Retailers should integrate account management into the site experience,” he says. “When a customer comes to a site to view or pay a balance, it may offer retailers the opportunity to influence another purchase.”

 

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