Fri, Mar 13, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Citibank eyes cash-back card users

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Citibank Taiwan Ltd (台灣花旗) yesterday said it would focus on expanding its cash-back credit card business this year by upgrading its rewards program, after a survey indicated that cash-back cards rank as the most popular product among Taiwan’s cardholders.

The survey — conducted by market research firm ACNielsen on behalf of Citibank Taiwan — shows that respondents expressed more interest in cash-back credit cards than other types, with the average consumption of Taiwanese cash-back cardholders totaling NT$12,841 per month.

The survey shows that Taiwanese credit cardholders spent most at supermarkets, department stores and gas stations.

Citibank Taiwan was the first bank in Taiwan to introduce the cash-back credit card to local consumers about a decade ago. The bank said it is targeting this segment again this year by launching a rewards upgrade program for its Cash Back Platinum Card.

Under the new program, Citibank is set to offer a 1.5 percent cash-back rate for its platinum credit cardholders for transactions made at department stores, hypermarkets and gas stations.

“Citi’s products and services aim to meet customer needs, rather than changing cardholders’ spending habits,” Citibank Taiwan consumer banking business manager Yunny Lee (李芸), said at a news conference.

Citi has issued more than 15 million credit cards in the Asia-Pacific region, with the number of cash-back cards issued by Citibank Taiwan accounting for more than half of its total number in the region.

Lee refused to specify the exact number of cash-back credit cards the bank issued in the nation.

However, the strong performance has prompted Citibank Taiwan to extend its rewards program — which was only available for the bank’s cash-back Infinite cardholders

The survey also shows that the average number of credit cards held per salaried person in Taiwan dropped to 3.5 last year, down by 24 percent from 4.5 recorded 10 years ago.

However, total credit card spending in Taiwan rose to NT$2.1 trillion (US$66.56 billion) from NT$1.4 trillion, with average monthly spending on credit cards growing to NT$4,610, an increase of 77 percent from NT$2,603, according to the Financial Supervisory Commission's latest statistics.

This shows that Taiwanese cardholders appeared prudent when applying for a new card and tended to focus on fewer credit cards for shopping.

The survey of credit cardholders’ consumer behavior in Taiwan — conducted from October to December last year — used a sample of 1,046 interviewers aged between 25 and 55 and whose annual income was above NT$400,000.

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