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December 19, 2016updated 05 Jun 2017 10:03am

StanChart flying to Infinite heights

Standard Chartered Singapore has scored a direct hit with its revitalised Visa Infinite credit card, which it targets squarely at the affluent segment. Douglas Blakey reports on the background to the product refresh, and its highly successful relaunch in an increasingly competitive market

By Douglas Blakey

Standard Chartered Singapore has scored a direct hit with its revitalised Visa Infinite credit card, which it targets squarely at the affluent segment. Douglas Blakey reports on the background to the product refresh, and its highly successful relaunch in an increasingly competitive market

It is a highly competitive local market and a hotly contested product segment, but Standard Chartered Singapore has scored a definite hit with its refreshed affluent credit card offering, Visa Infinite.

Targets were smashed with 50% of acquired card customers post-launch being new to the bank.

Other highlights included:

  • 80% of first quarter acquisition targets were acquired immediately at launch
  • 93% first month card activation rate versus 84% industry benchmark
  • 74% first month spends activation rate versus 55% industry benchmark

The newly launched Visa Infinite card product offering from StanChart achieved double-digit year-on-year growth in the first two months of the card’s launch, as compared to single-digit growth in the previous 12 months.

The relaunched card is targeted at annual fee-paying customers who want to enjoy premium benefits and accelerated reward points earning.

The profile of target customers is pegged to StanChart’s Priority segment and other card issuers of similar premium cards.

Pre-launch, annual fees were benchmarked as the volume of customers willing to pay annual fees for premium cards is limited.

The bank assembled a project team to identify the proposition and features of the intended card and assessed its profitability and sustainability, including short-, medium- and long-term plans.

Key was a need to align the card with the bank’s overall vision and strategy; StanChart also partnered in workshops with Visa to incorporate global best practice.

Next up, StanChart engaged selected partners with a strong network and unique offering that were relevant to the lifestyle of the emerging affluent segment, such as Uber, Fullerton, Crystal Jade, Visa, Yacht Management Private Ltd (YMPL). Testing included backend and front-end functionality to ensure a seamless customer experience.

Market opportunity Standard Chartered was among the first banks in Singapore to launch a Visa Infinite card in 2008, eventually building one of the largest Visa Infinite bases in the entire market.

A successful initial launch attracted the attention of competitors with a number of rival card issuers also rolling out similar products.

As a result, spending through Visa Infinite dropped and inactivity on the card among cardholders increased. It became a priority for Standard Chartered to revitalise the affluent card proposition and relaunch the product.

StanChart was targeting an affluent segment that demonstrated a significant opportunity where market spend had a CAGR of 35% during 2011–2015.

Visa’s Affluent Study 2015 concluded that Singapore’s affluent residents are amongst the most travelled consumers in the region, with an average of 3.1 trips reported in the past 12 months.

Existing Standard Chartered Visa Infinite cardholders were spending approximately 20% of their card purchases on travel-related categories and twice the amount on travel compared with dining.

The accelerated reward points earning rate – more than a SG$2,000 ($1,384) minimum spend within a statement month – is the best in class for any such card in Singapore.

The resulting product relaunch featured the following additional benefits:

  • Accelerated reward points;
  • Redemption rates of 1.4 miles for each dollar spent locally and three miles for each dollar spent overseas with a minimum spend of S$2,000 per statement;
  • A one-time bonus of 35,000 miles on sign-up;
  • 10% off Uber rides charged to the card – capped at SG$400 a year, and
  • 1.4 miles for every SG$1 spent if they charge their income tax to the card.

Visa Infinite also offers airport lounge access with complimentary Priority Pass membership entitling cardholders to six free visits a year – DBS’ Altitude Card and Citi’s PremierMiles card limit cardholders to two visits a year.

ANZ’s Travel Visa Signature Card has also attracted favourable publicity offering new members up to 25,000 bonus miles when SG$3,000 is charged to the card during the first month.

For Singapore’s high flyers, the StanChart Visa Infinite is winning the air miles battle on local price comparison websites and its current success comes as no surprise.

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