A financial services technology company wanted to enter the credit card marketplace. They had limited exposure in the category and needed to build a customer experience that would improve on the existing credit card application process.
The company faced challenges in developing and launching their new credit card program. The credit card marketplace is often perceived as being undifferentiated, consumers have a wide range of reasons to apply for a new credit card, and are flooded with offers and advertising, making it difficult to target specific audiences. Trust is also a key issue for consumers.
A Mixed Methodology approach was designed that included immersive interviews and a 20-minute online survey with consumers who were in the market, or had recent applied, for a new credit card. The research was designed to:
- Understand how consumers move through the credit card application decision-making process.
- Identify key touchpoints during the journey to find ways to influence the speed with which consumers could apply for the card.
- Create unique consumer pathways based on financial needs, credit score, and life stage.
- Develop a clear understanding of how consumer segments apply for credit cards via mobile and/or PC and desktop devices.
Step 1: Discuss with consumers their most recent credit card application process experience.
The goal was to understand how consumers navigate the credit card journey. We learned that many start with a specific card in mind, but they also comparison shop, looking at 2.2 credit cards on average.
Step 2: Create unique consumer pathways based on financial needs, credit score, and life stage.
While response showed that four phases of the credit card application process were critical across all demographics, there were five unique segments identified based on financial, demographic and psychographic attributes. This helped to create unique consumer pathways based on financial needs, credit score, and life stage.
Step 3: Identify key touchpoints during the journey to optimize how consumers can apply.
Of all the respondents, 75% felt more comfortable applying for a credit card directly through the bank or credit card website as opposed to an online agent – at the point of action on the online agent’s site they chose not to click to apply.
Step 4: Identify consumer segments that apply via mobile or PC/desktop devices.
Responses revealed that, overall, 58 percent of applications are made via PCs and only 42 percent were made via mobile devices. However, there were significant differences in application behavior within the five consumers segments, creating additional opportunities for optimization.
Recommendations for streamlining the application process.
Based on the research, four key recommendations were made:
- Drive more traffic to the credit card site by highlighting “better options” via video, display, and search marketing.
- Speed the application process by taking specific actions and tactics recommended for each of the five identified segments at each of the application process phases.
- Avoid consumer application drop-out rates by updating text on the “click-to-apply” button to reassure consumers they were applying via a trusted site.
- Enhance applications via mobile devices and PCs by testing specific product and user experience strategies and pathways to emphasize key messaging depending on screen size of various devices.
Our client was able to integrate insights gained from the study to enhance the online credit card application journey. Using these insights, the brand gained a deeper understanding of its potential customers and developed targeted messaging and creative for specific audience segments. The team was also able to test specific user experience approaches on various devices to better understand how to optimize for best performance. Finally, the brand was able to create offerings via pathways based on the identified segments.
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