SINGAPORE: 8 Nov. 2018 — Overall satisfaction with credit card issuers in Singapore has fallen this year, which coincides with a drop in satisfaction with issuers’ reward programmes, according to the J.D. Power 2018 Singapore Credit Card Satisfaction Study,SM released today.
Following a 30-point improvement between 2017 (727, on a 1,000-point scale) and 2016 (697), satisfaction with issuers has now fallen by 9 points this year to 718. Despite the decrease in satisfaction in rewards’ programmes (716 in 2018 vs. 725 in 2017), their attractiveness is still key, given that 66% of cardholders choose their primary card based on the rewards offered.
“It has been a relatively quiet year in terms of new cards and richer rewards programmes being introduced in the market,” said Anthony Chiam, Regional Practice Leader, Financial Services at J.D. Power. “This drop in satisfaction shows that cardholders are not only hungry for more rewards, but also that issuers competing on rewards alone is a never-ending battle, and this is not financially sustainable in the long term. To compete and differentiate in the market place, issuers need to go back to the basics, listen to their cardholders and invest in making the customer journey frictionless.”
The study also finds that against the rise of digital banking and a consumer preference for mobile convenience, Singapore is witnessing a slower growth in credit card mobile app uptake rates. This year, mobile app usage has grown by 8 percentage points (55% in 2018 vs. 47% in 2017), whereas the increase was almost double that from 2016 to 2017 (18 percentage points).
Unexpectedly, the usage rates of non-digital channels have risen this year despite card issuers’ gradual shift toward a digital-first strategy. Slightly more than half (51%) of cardholders use call centres, while 36% use automated phone assistance, both increasing from 2017 (6% and 5%, respectively).
Perhaps more worryingly for card issuers, satisfaction levels across all three channels have fallen, with the largest decline in automated phone assistance (-33 points), followed by mobile apps (-25) and call centres (-4).
Following are additional key findings of the study:
- Attractiveness of non-bank card issuers: Nearly half of cardholders (44%) in Singapore indicate that they are willing to apply for credit cards with non-bank companies, with rewards and benefits offered continuing to be a key deciding factor.
- Need for more transparency as credit card terms continue to confuse: Nearly 9 in 10 (86%) customers lack a complete understanding of their credit card terms. Legal and regulatory language is the primary driver of this confusion, with 58% of customers saying they “do not” understand the terms.
- Installment services encourage responsible borrowing: The study finds that installment services are popular, especially for cardholders who need to borrow for large purchases (67%) and travel (31%).
American Express ranks highest in credit card satisfaction for the fourth consecutive year, with an overall score of 764, emerging as the top performer in four of the six factors. DBS ranks second with a score of 724, and Citibank ranks third with a score of 723.
The 2018 Singapore Credit Card Satisfaction Study examines customer satisfaction with the products and services provided by their main financial institution. The study measures overall satisfaction in six key factors (in order of importance): customer interaction (29%); rewards (18%); benefits and services (17%); credit card terms (16%); communication (16%); and key moments (4%).
The study is based on responses from 2,900 credit card customers. Coverage includes 10 major credit card issuers in the market, eight of which are rank-eligible, with satisfaction scores based on the customer’s primary card used. The study was fielded in September and October 2018.
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About J.D. Power in the Asia Pacific Region
J.D. Power has offices in Singapore, Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries in the Asia Pacific region. Together, the five offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.A.E. and Vietnam. J.D. Power is a portfolio company of XIO Group, a global alternative investments and private equity firm headquartered in London, and is led by its four founders: Athene Li, Joseph Pacini, Murphy Qiao and Carsten Geyer. Information regarding J.D. Power and its products can be accessed through the internet at asean-oceania.jdpower.com.
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