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Contact:


Rebecca Gunn, Byline Group
direct number: 01628 411 452
rebecca@bylinegroup.com


Below are the key findings to the latest report from Byline Research based on the ecommerce plans of UK Credit card companies.
For your information, the respondents who participated in the report control 90% of the UK card market by cards issued.


I have Jerry Mulle from iE, who comissioned the report, available for comment this week. Jerry has a wide range of financial services experience across both the personal and commercial banking sectors and for the last 6 years has been working in the card industry. Prior to joining iE he was Head of E-Commerce for NatWest Commercial Cards.


Please contact me for a copy of the report or to speak to Jerry/photographs/graphics.


Credit card issuers bank on online services for growth


Tuesday, 19th February 2002 - Online services are the key to meeting revenue and customer service goals, according to a survey of the UK’s credit card issuers from iE, the leading provider of e-business applications to the cards industry.


Three quarters of card issuers continue to regard online services as critically important both in generating sales and in building relationships with the customer. Their faith in online services also remains as strong as ever despite the economic downturn and the bursting of the dot.com bubble.
Most issuers say their plans to invest in e-business have not been affected and in a fifth of cases spending has actually risen.


Respondents to the survey, conducted for iE by Byline Research, account for around 90% of the 45
million cards issued to UK consumers.
In the report of the findings, the authors note that while issuers continue to use low-interest rates, cash-back schemes and other gimmicks to win customers, they recognise that they do little to secure loyalty or long-term profitability.


Helen Clulow, Director of Cards for iE, said: “The UK is the most dynamic market for credit cards in Europe but also the most crowded. Product discounting cannot go on forever. By moving the battle to the Internet, issuers see a way to increase sales and keep customers onboard for longer by offering them a wider and richer selection of services.”
Although issuers continue to see e-business as a way to reduce costs, growth not cost-cutting is their main priority, the report claims. More than half of the respondents (53%) believe that online card services stimulate offline spending as well as Internet based transactions.
While online transactions continue to account for a minority of total consumer purchasing, the Internet has helped launch some of today’s most successful credit card brands. The report, Online Credit Card Services: After the Hype, the Reckoning, states: “Egg, Smile, and marblestm are all products that would not exist but for the Internet. Between them, these brands are responsible for a significant increase in competitive activity on and off the web.”



Egg, the leading internet-only brand, has 2 million cardholders, or about 4% of the UK market. The internet-heavy brands are important because there is a significant shift in potential consumer spending to the web. According to NetValue, the Internet measurement company, 15 million people, or a quarter of the UK population, now have Internet access at home. The report notes that Egg have recently moved into profit.



Helen Clulow said: “Attitudes to e-business have changed. Online services play only a modest part in attracting customers, but are vitally important in keeping them in the fold. No one doubts the need for a full servicing capability. There are still questions about how this should be done. For the established players, the issue is how to leverage existing investments in technology. System integration problems and cost are still the biggest barriers to online services.”



Readers can obtain copies of the report by contacting Sally Grandidge: sgrandidge@ie.com or 02086149851


Editors notes:


iE ( http://www.ie.com) is the market leading supplier of e-business application products for cards (credit & commercial), wealth management (retail & discretionary funds) and insurance markets, enabling our customers to quickly generate new business, improve customer service and reduce costs. The award winning iE NetFinance product suite integrates with existing customer relationship management, workflow and back-office systems to provide a seamless online application, selling and servicing environment. Based in London, UK, the company distributes its products in 20 countries. Founded in 1985, iE is a public company, quoted on the London Stock Exchange (AIM) as IEN.


Byline Research ( http://www.bylinegroup.com) specialises in e-business with particular emphasis on the financial services sector. As well as reports produced in its own right it has worked with third parties including Deloitte & Touche Consulting in the UK and Meridien Research in the US.
ends


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