Turkish credit card loyalty programme hits milestone

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on March 12, 2003

Turkish credit card loyalty programme hits milestone

The Turkish credit card loyalty programme, Bonus MasterCard, is about to reach a milestone of 2 million active users. Launched in April 2000 by Garanti Bank, the card was recently declared by MasterCard to be Europe's biggest multi-branded credit card programme.

At the time of the card's launch, there were 25 partner stores in Turkey. By the end of 2002, that number had increased to 750, with over 18,000 outlets where cardholders could redeem their bonus points.

Bonus MasterCard now has retail partners almost in every product and service sector, including supermarkets, petrol forecourts, clothing, home improvements and furnishing, healthcare and travel (including brands such as Tansas supermarket, Shell, Chicco, Little Ceasar's Pizza, Bosch, YKM department store, and the Florence Nightingale Hospital).

"As we expected, Bonus MasterCard enjoyed great success due to its cash-back bonus, and the flexibility of the reward programme is its key element of success," said Mehmet Sezgin, general manager of Garanti Payment Systems, which operates and manages the Bonus programme.

Bonus awards Card holders earn varying degrees of bonus, depending on which retail partner they're shopping with. Bonuses can vary from 2% to 20% of the total purchase value, while all other purchases at non-partner stores attract a standard 0.7% bonus.

Bonus points can be redeemed at any time, with no restrictions on value, at any partner store, or even on the internet. The scheme makes use of special point-of-sale (PoS) terminals and software to collect and redeem bonuses, which are treated as real money.

Future options Since February 2001, all new cards issued have been EMV compliant chip cards, which allows for a variety of future campaigns, based on the frequency or value of purchases. The chip cards also allow promotions to be conducted through selected stores, lotteries, cross promotions, and instant wins.

"Together with our partners, we can use the card as a marketing tool, and we enable them to analyse the data and implement tailor-made CRM programmes from it," explained Sezgin.

Currently, bonuses tend to be redeemed at Shell stations, Tansas supermarkets, and YKM department stores, with the equivalent of US$22 million in cash value being claimed to date, along with US$13 million worth of goods and service redemptions.

"As the bonus points are easy to redeem at a variety of outlets, our redemption ratio is probably one of the highest in the industry," said Sezgin.

Consumer credit The card also offers interest-free payment by instalments at selected merchants, offering consumers credit opportunities for items such as durable goods and furniture as well.

The Bonus card brand is well known in Turkey, largely due to Garanti Bank's continuing investments in marketing, merchandising and branding. "Three years after the launch, we still receive more than 25,000 applications a week," claimed Sezgin.

"Another Turkish Bank, DenizBank, will start issuing Bonus cards by May 2003, and the brand is so strong that we expect more banks to adopt it in the near future," concluded Sezgin.

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