Study: Most Get Credit Card Information Via Mail

Fifty-three percent of credit cardholders became aware of their last credit card through direct mail, a Vertis study released yesterday found.

The result was gleaned from the Baltimore-based company's Customer Focus 2005: Credit Card study, which identifies the most appealing incentives for adults to sign up for a card. The study was broken into subsets focusing on the nonprofit, financial, insurance and automotive industries. A survey of 2,000 adults was conducted in August/September 2004.

Meanwhile, credit card marketers sent a record-high 1.4 billion direct mail offers in the first quarter, up 11 percent over last year, according to Mail Monitor, the direct mail offer tracking service from Synovate. Yet response rates to credit card offers reached a record low of 0.4 percent.

Synovate said the mailings coincided with increasing promotions of bank cards with issuer proprietary reward and rebate programs, which made up 27 percent of all bank card mailings in the quarter, up from 16 percent last year.

The Vertis study identified an increase in awareness among men ages 18-24, with 62 percent saying they got information on their last credit card in a direct mail offer versus 39 percent in 2002. The study also found that bonus points and other incentives attract consumers to credit cards.

“With the competitive environment of credit card offers, companies are constantly challenged to create additional incentives for programs or rewards that will appeal to and entice new customers,” said Janice Mayo, senior vice president of marketing at Vertis. “It is important for companies to understand which type of incentives will draw consumers and to communicate these offers through an effective medium.”

Other findings:

· 22 percent of credit cardholders said receiving points for merchandise/airline tickets was most appealing when selecting a card.

· 76 percent of 18-34-year-olds read direct mail on new credit card offers, compared with 66 percent of total adults surveyed.

· 66 percent of 55-64-year-olds read financial direct mail on new credit card options for their current card compared with 61 percent of total adults.

· 44 percent of total adults pay off their credit card balance each month, compared with 51 percent in 2002.

· 4 percent of 35-44-year-olds are making a partial payment to their card and their balance is growing, compared with 11 percent in 2002.

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