Co-brand Credit card offers are almost becoming comical. Just as it’s common to find multiple selections; from several companies, for different types of breakfast cereal with assorted flavors, varying nutritional values, plus prizes, recipes, even discounts for other products, now credit card issuers; who have long included rewards with their cards, are now re-packaging their credit card offers to the extent of cereal manufacturers.
You can obtain credit cards of varying brands (like cereal flavors), with interest rates (nutritional value) for people of all credit ratings, and with rewards (prizes) included. Browsing card offers today is much like perusing cereal boxes.
Just as you allow your children to pick out their desired brand of cereal, you may want to consider them when you choose a credit card. A credit card that offers family entertainment rewards, such as Chase’s Disney Credit Card, may provide your family with mutual benefits. If you are in the market for purchasing a new auto, a GM Card may be a better choice.
It’s obvious that card issuers now have a plethora of brands with a broad range of rewards, with the objective to obtain new customers. But why; exactly, are retailers and the travel and entertainment industries co-branding these card offers?
Retailers have had a long alliance with card issuers, most notably retailers such as J.C. Penny and Sears. And airlines have been included for some time. But now the travel and entertainment industries are becoming an even larger ingredient of the rewards, for the sake of their own customer acquisition.
Generally, the first things to be erased from a family budget during a financial hardship are vacation and entertainment savings. To deter this; purveyors of travel and entertainment co-brand with credit card issuers to retain and lure new customers. Although on the outside the alliances may seem sinister, consumers can actually benefit by receiving points, discounts, even cash back from purchases. Plus these alliances can also be beneficial for the economy by aiding the recovery of a recession.
It’s all about customer acquisition and retention. When baby boomers were children, there were only a fraction of the ads that consumers are exposed to today. Merchants were much more competitive and reluctant to forge alliances, and about the only co-branding that occurred was when one company purchased another.
The strategies have changed, and if you had applied recently for a credit card; whether or not you were accepted, no doubt you received pre-approved credit card offers from other issuers as well. In your daily mail you may have been bombarded with solicitations from retailers, airline and entertainment merchants who obtained your name and address from the credit card company. Often credit card issuers will sell applicant names and addresses to other entities, which may solicit you based upon your application information. If you had applied for a joint credit card and claimed to be a home-owner; for example, your information may be sold to a home products retailer such as Home Depot, who may offer you their store charge card. Hence, the alliances credit card issuers are developing with merchants goes deeper than the co-branding you see on the face of the credit card. Again, though this may seem like a conspiracy to delve into consumer pockets, these alliances can benefit consumers with discounts and points.
In addition to the typical things consumers look for when choosing a credit card, like the interest rates, fees and credit limits, consumers should also decide which rewards will benefit them most. Just as in shopping for cereal, the prize (rewards) may not be worth the cost (interest/fee) for the card.
And the next time you grocery shop, don’t be surprised if you see a GM credit card offer advertised on a cereal box… but will the GM card stand for General Motors, or General Mills?