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.

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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
in our July edition.

Will Cain,