Premium credit cards: Bid for bigger market share intensifies
Charmian Kok
Thu, Jul 19, 2007
The Business Times

COMPETITION in the premium credit card market is heating, with ABN Amro yesterday introducing a new platinum card while Maybank is adding an exclusive reward programme.

ABN Amro's new platinum plastic is called the Switch Card. Maybank's new Porsche Reward Programme for its platinum card holders was also announced yesterday; it is aimed at attracting at least 10,000 new platinum card customers within a year.

ABN Amro said its Switch Card offers 'unparalleled financial value and convenience to customers in Singapore'.

'The card was conceptualised after in-depth research done by ABN Amro on consumers' needs and demands,' said Pamela Tan, the Dutch bank's head of consumer finance in Singapore. 'Merchant promotions have become basic expectations of consumers these days. Hence, we decided to create a card that can offer more than traditional lifestyle benefits with a focus on giving consumers real financial value.'

The Switch Card is ABN Amro's second platinum card to be launched in Singapore this year. Its benefits are said to include an interest rate of 18 per cent per annum, permanent waiver of annual membership fee, free cash advance service on automated teller machines (ATMs) and zero per cent instalment payment plan for large ticket purchases at all merchants.

ABN Amro's head of consumer client segment in Singapore, Suhail Chander, said: 'The credit card market in Singapore is very competitive, with most people holding more than one card. To entice customers, you need a unique proposition offering differentiated benefits that are not already available in the market.'

Meanwhile Maybank, Malaysia's largest banking group, is also seeking to differentiate itself from other credit card providers - this time by offering its exclusive reward programme, the first in a series of posh privileges lined up for its platinum card customers.

Under the new Porsche Reward Programme, Maybank customers who charge at least $12,000 to their cards in three months can redeem a day's free use of a Porsche Cayenne or Porsche Boxster car. But for the Aug1-Oct31promotional period, the $12,000 spending will pay for two days' free Porsche car use, and a $6,000 spending will pay for one day's driving.

Maybank says more than 15 per cent of its platinum card holders already spend $6,000 in three months. 'With our exclusive reward programme, it will be an added incentive for Maybank Platinum card customers to charge to our cards,' said Maybank's head of consumer banking, Helen Neo.

The bank is the first in the market to provide such a motoring benefit to its platinum card customers in Singapore. Neither of the Porsche models is currently available for daily rent in Singapore.


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