First Niagara launches debit card loyalty points
In the US, First Niagara Bank has announced a new points-based debit card loyalty programme that rewards cardholders for making signature debit payments of at least US$3.
Known as ScoreCard Rewards, the new debit card programme offers eligible customers the chance to earn points for signature-based transactions, redeemable for merchandise and travel rewards.
Spend-based points All of the bank's eligible debit cardholders are automatically enrolled in the programme, and will earn 1 point for every US$3 of signature-based debit card spending, as well as bonus points for opening new savings accounts, home equity loans, and other lines of credit.
The ScoreCard Rewards programme has several merchandise redemption levels, including items such as appliances, electronics, sporting goods, and jewellery. The award travel redemption levels start at rental car certificates, and go up in value to round-trip international flights (e.g. to Australia or New Zealand).
Consumer demand The bank was encouraged to launch the debit card rewards programme by recent consumer research. In its 2005 Marketing Debit Cards - The New Reality research study, Synergistics found that almost half of debit card users would increase their usage of such a card if they received rewards for doing so. There are now more than 234 million debit cards in the US alone, according to figures quoted by CardWeb.com.
"ScoreCard presents an excellent opportunity for us to reward the loyalty these customers have demonstrated to First Niagara, and to provide an incentive for future use of their debit cards and to purchase our other products," commented Michael Giaquinto, First Niagara's executive vice president of consumer banking.