Majority say credit card rewards are very important, and drive their card usage

New GigaPoints/Ipsos poll finds that credit card rewards/points play a major role in deciding to go with a particular credit card company for many Americans

The author(s)

  • Marie-Pierre Lemay Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Negar Ballard Director, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, January 12, 2021 — A new GigaPoints/Ipsos poll finds that six in ten Americans agree that credit card rewards are very important to them, with cash back standing out as the preferred type of reward. Over half say that earning credit card points and rewards makes them want to use their credit card more often (53%) – particularly Millennial (67%) and Gen X (66%) credit card holders. Though 57% believe they currently get the maximum possible rewards from their current credit card(s), three in ten find it difficult to understand which credit card rewards and points programs would be best for them. About half say that they would consider getting a credit card/switching a credit card if they could earn more rewards – and one in five plan to get a new card in 2021. ‘Earning better rewards’ is the top mention cited for wanting to get a new card in the year ahead among those who plan to do so.

Detailed Findings

Six in ten Americans agree that credit card rewards are very important to them (60%). Cash back (73%) is top of mind when it comes to preferred type of credit card reward, especially for women (77% vs. 67% of men), low income earners (79% of those with a household income of $50,000 or less vs. 64% of those with a household income of $100,000 or more), and those with no college degree (77% vs. 68% of those with a degree). Other rewards such as transferable points (10%), airline miles (9%) and hotel points (4%) are mentioned by one in ten or less.

  • Older adults (68% of those aged 55+ vs. 53% of those aged 18-34), the more affluent (71% of those with a household income of $100,000 or more vs. 44% of those earning $50,000 or less), and those with a college degree (68% vs. 52% of those with no degree) are among those most likely to say credit card rewards are very important to them.
  • Just over half say that earning credit card points and rewards makes them want to use their credit card more often (53% among all Americans and 60% among credit card owners).
  • About half (49%) would consider getting a credit card/switching a credit card if they could earn more rewards – especially young adults (56% of those aged 18-34), those in the top income bracket (53% of those with a household income of $100,000 or more), those with a college degree (55%), and those who already have a credit card (53%).
     

More than half (57%) believe they currently get the maximum possible rewards (i.e. cash back, points, miles, etc.) from their current credit card. However, three in ten find it difficult to understand which credit card rewards and points programs would be best for them (29%).

  • Just over half of Gen Z adults (52%) admit they struggle to understand which credit card rewards and points would be best for them. A third of Millennials (34%) say the same thing.
  • Americans are most likely to use credit card rewards for cash back (47%), though roughly one in five also use their rewards for everyday spending (22%), vacations (19%), and/or gifts (16%).
  • A third say that they are currently saving their credit card travel rewards to use in the future or post COVID-19 (34%), though 21% do not think it will be safe to travel until 2022 or later.
     

Credit card rewards play a major role in deciding to go with a particular credit card company for 56%. This is especially true for those in the top income bracket (67% of those with a household income of $100,000 or more), those with a college degree (63%) and those who say credit card rewards are important to them (82%).

  • One in five Americans say that they plan to get a new credit card in 2021 (18%), with men (24%), adults under the age of 35 (36%), those with children living at home (27%), those with no college degree (22%), and those who do not currently own a credit card (26%) among the most likely to agree.     
  • Among those who say they will be getting a new card in 2021, 41% say that this is to earn better rewards. A third want a new card to get a better interest rate (32%) and one in five want to increase their debt limit (22%) and/or avoid annual fees (21%).
  • Not quite one in five say that they changed which credit card they use the most due to the COVID-19 pandemic (17%) – this jump to 36% among Millennial credit card holders. Another 19% say once COVID-19 is no longer a major concern, they anticipate changing which credit card they primarily use to earn points, rewards or cash back.

About the Study

These are the findings from an Ipsos poll conducted December 18 – 21, 2020 on behalf of GigaPoints. For the survey, a sample of 1,006 adults ages 18 and over from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online in English.
The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2018 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.  

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,006, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval =  +/-5.0 percentage points for all respondents).

For more information on this news release, please contact:
 
Marie-Pierre Lemay
Director, US
Public Affairs
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP www.ipsos.com

About GigaPoints

GigaPoints is a data-driven credit card comparison platform that gives consumers a fast, easy and secure way to get highly personalized credit card recommendations so they can earn the most rewards possible for their spending. Founded in 2020, the company was built from Founder/CEO Erik Budde’s passion for helping consumers maximize their credit-card benefits. GigaPoint’s patent-pending technology analyzes a user’s spending, mapping it to hundreds of credit cards and their unique rewards systems. Visits https://www.gigapoints.com/ to learn more.

 

 

The author(s)

  • Marie-Pierre Lemay Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Negar Ballard Director, US, Public Affairs

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