||Study Examines Credit Card Rewards Programs
Among credit card holders, over three quarters (77%) have rewards programs associated with their cards, most commonly cash back (47%) and general rewards points (44%), according to a new poll of over 1,000 adults conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of the American Bankers Association.
Other rewards programs include airline miles (15%), gas rewards points (8%), hotel points (7%), or some other reward program (4%). Fewer than one-quarter (23%) do not have rewards programs associated with their cards.
Cash back is not only the most common type of rewards program, but it is also the most favored; six in ten rewards card holders (60%) say that cash back cards are the most appealing credit card reward program to them personally. A quarter (26%) prefer general points cards that can be redeemed for goods, while one in ten (9%) most prefer airline miles cards. A handful of respondents choose hotel points (2%) or some other type of reward (2%), while 1% volunteered that none of these types of rewards are most appealing.
When it comes to card ownership in general, 75% of U.S. adults have at least one credit card, including about a third (34%) who have three cards or more.
- Those most likely to prefer airline points are those with a higher household income (11% vs. 5% of those with lower incomes), and those with a college degree (13% vs. 6% of those without).
- Those without a college degree tend to prefer general points cards (30% vs. 21%).
Credit Card Rewards Most Commonly Used for Necessary Household Purchases
- Over four in ten (43%) of those aged 55 and over have three or more cards, compared to about one-third (34%) of those aged 35-54, and fewer than one-quarter (23%) of those aged 18-34.
Four in five (82%) rewards card holders say they most commonly use their rewards to make necessary purchases for themselves or their household (54%). Three in ten use their rewards to purchase gifts for friends and family (31%) or for purchases or travel that are outside of their normal purchase behavior (i.e., special offers, upgrades, or trips, etc.) (27%). Only one in five (18%) report that they have not used the rewards they have earned.
Few Seek Rewards Programs That Differ from What is Already Provided
Among those who participate in a credit card rewards program, seven in ten (68%) do not have any suggestions for additional rewards they would like to see their credit card company offer other than what is already provided.
Less than one in five offer some suggestion about another type of rewards offering, most commonly cash back (5%), some other type of points/rewards (5%), gift cards (2%), or gas rebates or rewards (2%). Just 2% would like to see a rewards program related to reduced fees or interest rates.
Vast Majority Satisfied with Their Credit Cards
Among respondents who have a credit card, nine in ten (90%) say that they are satisfied with their credit cards, including over a third (35%) who say that they are very satisfied. Just under one in ten (8%) say that they are dissatisfied, of which only 2% are very dissatisfied. Two percent are unsure.
Online and Billing Tools Viewed as Most Helpful For Managing Credit
- Those whose credit cards have rewards programs associated with them are more likely than those who do not to be very satisfied with their credit cards (39% vs. 23%).
When asked what tools they would find most helpful when it comes to managing their credit, online tools (14%) such as online banking (12%) were most commonly cited, followed by billing tools (13%) such as a tool to keep track of their expenses/purchases (6%). Others would like to have a tool help with their credit card usage (5%), in order to help in budgeting and controlling spending (4%).
Six percent would like access to their credit score or report, and 3% would like a tool to help pay off their cards each month. Accounting tools such as a calculator or accounting software were mentioned by just 2%. Three in ten (29%) say that they do not need any tool to help them manage their credit, while 16% were unsure.
(Source: Ipsos Public Affairs, 12/13/12)
- Online tools are in the greatest demand among those under 35 (20% vs. 12% of those 35-54, and 11% of those 55 and over), those with a college degree (19% vs. 11%), and those with three or more cards (17 % vs. 11% of those with 1-2 cards).
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