3 Innovative Strategies for Card Issuers to Boost Revenue

Jul 10, 2024

Card issuers today are under immense pressure to innovate as traditional revenue streams begin to dry up. Consumers are increasingly demanding fee-free services, driven by the convenience and low-cost structure of many neobanks that are challenging the status quo.

Regulatory changes are also impacting profitability, with the introduction of lower interchange fees and new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulations that cap overdraft fees and other credit card fees. These shifts are requiring card issuers to embrace new strategies to stay competitive and profitable in a crowded market.


Three Revenue-Growth Strategies for Issuers to Consider

Strategy #1: Utilizing AI Tools

AI is reshaping the financial services industry, presenting new opportunities for card issuers to innovate and enhance customer experiences. Some examples include:

Tailored Predictions: Utilizing AI tools like Personetics can help card issuers analyze customer spending habits and offer personalized financial advice and product recommendations. This level of personalization adds much value to the customer relationship, fostering loyalty and satisfaction.

Optimized Customer Support: Implementing AI-driven chatbots such as Kasisto can optimize customer support by handling routine financial inquiries and transactions. These chatbots can offer personalized financial advice based on a customer’s spending habits, freeing up human agents for more complex tasks.


Strategy #2:  Expanding Partnerships and Co-Branding Initiatives

Building robust partnerships is essential for card issuers aiming to tap into new revenue streams and strengthen customer loyalty. Here are a few strategic collaborations that can yield substantial benefits:

Merchant Partnerships: Collaborating with platforms like Kipp can significantly enhance relationships with merchants, offering mutual benefits such as improved data-sharing and increased transaction approvals. Such partnerships allow card issuers to work closely with merchants to share crucial data for informed decision-making, and effectively manage credit-related risks. This cooperation directly increases revenue and enhances the customer experience by reducing transaction declines.

Partnership with Brands: Teaming up with popular brands to offer co-branded cards is a powerful strategy. These cards come with exclusive offers and benefits tailored to the brand’s audience, which goes a long way toward attracting loyal customers of the brand to the card issuer. A PYMNTS study found that 38% of cardholders cite rewards as the top reason for obtaining a co-branded card. That’s because co-branded cards often feature enhanced rewards on brand-specific purchases, special access to sales or events, and other unique perks that resonate with targeted consumer groups, driving card usage and retention. For example, Citi and Costco offer co-branded cards with a wide range of big-box benefits.

Partnership with Fintechs: Fintech partnerships leverage cutting-edge technology to create seamless, efficient user experiences that address consumers’ expectations for speed and convenience. Additionally, these collaborations can introduce features like enhanced mobile wallet integrations, real-time spending trackers, and innovative loyalty programs that boost customer satisfaction and retention.


Strategy #3:  Customer-Centric Financial Solutions

To stay ahead of emerging trends, card issuers must continuously seek to add new services and personalized experiences that resonate with their users. Some examples:

Fee-Free Programs: Implementing fee-free features can help compete against neobanks and attract customers seeking minimal banking costs. Programs like Chime’s SpotMe, which offers overdraft protection without traditional fees, or Ally Bank’s no-fee approach, can be emulated to provide similar benefits. These programs help retain customers by offering a more straightforward, cost-effective banking solution that aligns with consumer desires for transparency and fairness in fees.

Green and Sustainable Finance Products: Developing eco-friendly financial products will attract environmentally conscious customers. This could involve offering incentives for sustainable spending, such as higher cashback on purchases made from eco-friendly businesses or contributions towards environmental projects. This strategy can help card issuers differentiate themselves in a crowded market and appeal to a growing demographic that values sustainability.


How Card Issuers Can Thrive Amidst Change

Card issuers must continually adapt to the changing economic and regulatory landscape by embracing innovative technologies, forming strategic partnerships, and enhancing their customer offerings. These strategies will help issuers navigate current challenges and position them for sustained growth and profitability in a competitive market.