Though increasingly credit card applications have gone online (I don’t know of any issuers who does a great job taking applications via mobile) direct mail offers remain a significant source of new accounts. Mintel Comparemedia believes that one-fifth of card applications are generated by a direct mail offer (even if the consumer goes online to actually apply).
This company employs traditional polling data to sample a set of consumers to determine what offer response rates look like, who is getting card offers, and what kind of cards they’re applying for.
And they’re seeing an increase in direct mail offers being sent — up 32% during the June to November period — while actual applications have declined 21%. For marketing geeks that suggests a precipitous decline in response rates, overall dropping from 0.68% in June to 0.51% in November.
- American Express had the highest issuer response rate in November at 1.84%.
- Bank of America had the second-highest response rate in November at 0.96%.
- Chase’s response rate decreased from 0.68% in September to 0.50% in November.
- Citibank’s response rate decreased from 0.54% in September to 0.43% in November.
- Capital One saw its response rate decrease from 0.58% in April to 0.35% in November. It sent the highest number of offers per household over the period of September through November.
- Discover’s response rate decreased from 0.33% in September to 0.30% in November.
More consumers are receiving card offers in the mail — up “from 54% to 67% over nine months last year” including an increase in applications from consumers with annual incomes between $20,000 and $50,000.
Fewer card applications, an increase in reaching down to lower income and possibly lower credit score consumers, combined with data like auto loan delinquencies at their highest level since 2010 (during the Great Recession) seem to raise some economic flags.
My score history about a year ago
Here’s how applications appear to be broken down by rewards type:
- 47% are for cash rebate cards
- 36% are for miles or points cards
- 17% are for cards with no rewards