Twenty years ago, Singapore’s United Overseas Bank (UOB) launched the first credit card targeted specifically at women. The product, called the Lady’s Card, is still running and now has 500,000 customers.
The card was one of the earliest examples of female-focused financial services, a phenomenon that has spread to all forms of finance – retail banking, wealth management and insurance. Card issuers that have entered this niche have discovered a growing market that offers increased volumes, reduced non-performing loans and greater customer retention.
In Europe, it is estimated 79.2 percent of all purchasing decisions are now made by women. The figure is 80 percent in the US and, at the current rate of wage increases, women will be earning more on average than men by 2024. If these customers are generating increasing wealth and exercising greater influence in financial decision-making, it makes sense to target them as customers, as Standard Bank, in South Africa, and TEB, in Turkey, recently have.
Their research into the market shows women are 30 percent more likely than men to pay bills on time, meaning credit risk can be mitigated. Personalised financial products are also more likely to build loyalty.
The products have not taken off in every country. Women in Germany find the products patronising and in the US, where the market for the products appears highest, there are no women-focused credit cards. What is clear is that well-researched, carefully considered products in this segment have the potential to deliver rich rewards.
For full analysis see: Women and Card Benefits: Which work?