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May 28, 2010

Simplicity through innovation’

The conclusion from Cards and Payments Europe 2010, the VRLCards International event recently held in Madrid, was clear simplicity is currently the concern of most customers. Prior to the financial crisis, benign economic conditions and strong credit growth saw many issuers roll out new cards products each month in an effort to appear dynamic and innovative to customers and to sell more products.

By Verdict Staff

The conclusion from Cards and Payments Europe 2010, the VRL/Cards International event recently held in Madrid, was clear – simplicity is currently the concern of most customers.

There are now signs banks are starting to get the message. Prior to the financial crisis, benign economic conditions and strong credit growth saw many issuers roll out new cards products each month in an effort to appear dynamic and innovative to customers and to sell more products.

This left some banks, like Madrid-based BBVA, with as many as 50 different card product lines, making it impossible for customers – or the bankers selling the products – to know which were most suitable.

The solution for BBVA has been to aggressively cut down on the number of card products it offers, simplifying its range into four simple product lines: debit, credit, revolving and prepaid.

These cards may have some element of vertical segmentation, but by and large they do exactly what they say do – and this, according to Enrique Barthe, head of innovation at BBVA, is what customers want.

These views were backed up at the event by MasterCard’s Luke Olbrich, head of debit, Europe, and George Greer, head of credit and charge products, Europe, who announced a revamped World Signia segmentation programme for high net worth and ultra high net worth card customers.

Also revealed for the first time at the event was exclusive research – commissioned by VRL, sponsored by MasterCard and carried out by research company TNS.

It outlined customer preferences across debit, credit, prepaid and mobile payments products across Spain, UK, Italy and Germany.

The results of the research are to be made available exclusively to subscribers of Cards International in our July edition.

Will Cain, Editor

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