September 07, 2010

Market research firm Synergistics has released a report today suggesting that banks could benefit from linking their credit and debit reward programs.

The report notes that several banks, including Citibank and Wells Fargo, have pioneered combining debit card and credit card reward programs, typically under the umbrella of “relationship” rewards. In a survey of 1,000 U.S. households conducted over the internet, seven in ten use both debit and credit cards, and six in ten of those cardholders see combined reward programs as valuable; one-fifth see them as “very” valuable. Younger consumers are more likely than older consumers to find value in these combined card reward programs.

“Combined debit card and credit card reward programs should be explored by any size financial institution that has both a debit and credit card customer base," said Genie M. Driskill, COO of Synergistics, in a statement. "These linked reward programs should add a degree of stickiness to customer relationships, making it harder for these customers to switch institutions. Ideally, these combined programs will also strengthen relationships in the early years and blunt the potential tendency of households — as they move ahead in their financial lifecycles and become more affluent — to move their transaction activity to other credit card providers offering attractive reward programs.”

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