e-Card to launch in Scandinavian countries
The Iceland-based savings bank Spron addressed the country's highly competitive payment card market (with 75% card usage and 2 or more payment cards per person) by introducing an enhanced EMV credit card called 'eKort' (e-card)', which is now to be rolled out in additional countries.
The eKort programme will be launched in the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Denmark and Finland through a network of card-issuing partners, acquirers, and retailers. The card's enhanced EMV features are powered by Welcome's XLS payment technology.
After launching the card in Iceland, where it is reported to have increased its market share by 10% in less than two years, Spron decided to expand the programme to other Nordic countries, and is now looking for potential partners in the region to develop the credit card market.
Competitive markets According to Kristjan Hardarson, executive vice president for Spron, "Scandinavian markets have the same crowded credit card market characteristics as Iceland - intense competition between banks, highly sophisticated markets, and very high card usage. Spron aims to propose something new and exciting in the region, and to have the e-Card become the preferred credit card brand."
Nicolas Lefort, regional manager for Nordic countries at Welcome added: "e-Card is really focused on getting the most out of electronic money, and enhancing payment to provide cardholders with an exciting experience at the moment of payment."
Benefits The enhanced payment technology gives both Spron and the country's retailers more flexibility in granting loyalty rewards: they can calculate and award cash-back rewards in real-time, or on consumer spending in a given period, or on volume or even frequency of purchase.
In Iceland, for example, the e-Card offers its users 0.5% cash-back from the bank, and additional (variable) 0.65% - 15% cash-back from retailers. Cardholders can then spend their cash-back reward with any of the 200 merchants that are participating in the programme.
According to Welcome, card spending currently stands at about 30% above average in Iceland, with last year's transaction figures having been recorded at over 40% above average.