Credit Card Shopping More Prevalent As U.S. Consumer Economic Sentiment Improves

Cash Back among Most Important Rewards for Cardholders

Comscore Releases New Online Credit Card Report

RESTON, VA, April 20, 2011 – Comscore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released its annual Online Credit Card Report, which provides a comprehensive look at the U.S. online credit card industry over the past year. The report focuses on shifts in the industry related to improving consumer perceptions of the economic environment, card features most likely to influence card shopping decisions, and the growing importance of online servicing for issuers. The report draws its analysis from Comscore’s research panel of 1 million U.S. consumers and a Comscore survey of nearly 2,000 U.S. Internet users conducted in December 2010. Among its findings, the study reveals a greater percentage of card shopping activity among consumers who reported having a more positive view of the economy.

Competitive Features and Rewards Important as Consumers Shop for New Cards

During the past twelve months, 20 percent of all cardholders reported shopping for a new card. Among consumers who reported feeling more confident about the economy, this stood at a higher 34 percent.

“As we see consumer economic sentiment improve, we’re also seeing a corresponding increase in retail and e-commerce spending along with increased card shopping, especially among those in the subprime sector,” said Sarah Lenart, Comscore vice president of financial services. “With shopping and card applications expected to continue to increase in 2011, consumers are likely to place even greater emphasis on competitive card features and offerings as well as enticing rewards programs.”

Low interest rates, the lack of annual fees, and rewards programs were regarded as the most important features by most cardholders, with low interest rates deemed most important by 40 percent of consumers. Rewards programs rank third in importance to cardholders but represent an opportunity to incentivize consumers to increase their overall use of credit as opposed to using a debit card or cash.

Most Important Credit Card Features to Cardholders
(% Ranked Highest on a Scale from 1 to 8)
December 2010
Total U.S.
Source: Comscore Credit Card Survey

Credit Card Feature

% Ranking This Feature Highest

Low APR/Interest Rate


No Annual Fee


Rewards or Points


Card Accepted at Most Merchants


High Credit Limit


Reputation of the Issuer


Customer Service


Low APR for Balance Transfers


The most important credit card reward offerings were cash back (57 percent of respondents), merchant rewards (13 percent), flexible points (13 percent) and airline miles (10 percent).

Most Important Credit Card Reward Types to Cardholders
(% Ranked Highest on a Scale from 1 to 6)
December 2010
Total U.S.
Source: Comscore Credit Card Survey

Credit Card Reward Type

% Ranking This Type Highest

Cash Back


Merchant Rewards


Flexible Points






Charitable Donations


Issuer Websites Gain Importance as a Channel for Servicing Cardholders

As card issuers continue to develop websites and mobile applications as a way to engage with cardholders, a noticeable shift can be seen in consumers’ use of these channels as opposed to more traditional channels. In 2010, 76 percent of cardholders reported accessing their accounts online, up 5-percentage points from a year ago. One in five cardholders who also own a mobile phone report having used their mobile device to manage their accounts over the past 12 months.

While mobile applications and sites are not used to the same extent as other channels, they are gaining popularity. Among cardholders with mobile phones, 16 percent reported accessing their issuer’s site through a mobile browser and 13 percent reported accessing their accounts through mobile applications.

Channel Usage for Completing Transactions Among Cardholders Who Have a Mobile Phone
December 2010
Total U.S.
Source: Comscore Credit Card Survey and Mobile Financial Services Advisor Survey


% Using This Method

% Using This as Primary Method

Call Company on Phone



Go Online to Financial Institution's Site



Via Mobile Browser



Via Mobile Application



Via Mobile Text Message Alerts



“As people increasingly rely on digital channels to manage their credit card accounts, it’s important to understand to what degree consumers are using them and how these access methods create value for issuers’ key customer segments,” added Ms. Lenart.

To download a complimentary copy of the Comscore Online Credit Card Report 2010 Edition, please visit:

About Comscore

Comscore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world. For more information, please visit

Carmela Aquino
Comscore, Inc.