Credit cards ‘are wasting online spend’

Credit card companies are wasting their online budgets on building and promoting their own websites, when they would sell more by spreading their Web marketing budgets across comparison, affiliate and general financial websites, according to new research.

Tom Wood, managing partner at online sales consultancy Foolproof, which published the research, says: “The sales patter on credit card sites is largely redundant – and yet this remains the focus of attention for lenders. Frankly, it means online credit card marketers are putting too many eggs in the wrong basket.”

Wood points out that one in five online UK adults with a credit card expects to switch in next 12 months, but few of them plan or expect to switch to a better card deal from their current provider. Wood observes: “They have been trained to churn.”

The research was conducted for Foolproof by online poll specialist YouGov (www.yougov.co.uk), and the total sample was 1,502 individuals, all active internet users who were the sole or joint financial decision-maker in their household. Foolproof then conducted an additional 30 hours of in-depth interviews.

The responses confirm industry suspicions that the credit card market is becoming commoditised, with high customer churn, low loyalty and brand weakness online.

Wood adds: “Brand preferences don’t survive the online shopping process because shoppers are easily distracted and diverted by product information and messages about other cards.”

The report also recommends that lenders work harder in the right places on their own sites and that they should mimic smarter players, such as Egg and Smile.

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