- August 25, 2008

Credit Angst Still a Problem for Subprime Borrowers

As senior director in the financial services group at Comscore, I’ve spent a lot of time in the past several months examining changes in consumers’ online banking and credit card behavior. Earlier this month my colleagues and I hosted a webinar entitled, “Comscore Industry Insights: Credit Cards and Banking” that highlighted some pretty interesting trends we’ve been seeing given today’s economy.

Here are a few of the key findings from the webinar that I wanted to share with you all:

1. The number of online credit card applications submitted by subprime applicants increased by 30 percent while the number of credit card applications submitted by prime candidates decreased by 15 percent.

Key Takeaway:
As the credit crunch has expanded from subprime mortgages to impact lending standards more broadly, credit hungry subprime consumers are turning increasingly to credit cards for financing.

2. Total People Searching on a ‘Bad Credit’ Related Term Grew 14% Y/Y

Key Takeaway:
Online search behavior can be an indicator of economic issues affecting consumers. With more subprime applicants in the pool, the total number of people searching on terms related to ‘bad credit’ has also grown.

3. Within “Bad Credit,” Click Thrus on Credit Card-Related Terms Have Increased Y/Y, While Click Thrus on Loan Related Terms Have Decreased

Key Takeaway:
This represents a shift in the economic position and the desperation of the “searcher.” Additionally, the paid/organic results of these clicks have shifted heavily. Marketers appear to be putting paid search dollars behind “Bad Credit - Credit Card” offerings (up to 57.9% Paid in Q1 08 from 35.1% in Q1 07), and lowering search dollars behind “Bad Credit Loan” searchers (down to 40.3% in Q1 08 from 49.8% in Q1 07). Not only is the Bad Credit search market changing, but the marketers appear to be reacting based on what is driving ROI.