While credit card issuing may be a mature market, certain card issuers are seeing huge growth, namely institutions like MBNA and First USA, which have sliced and diced consumer segments to the point where MBNA, the largest
of the issuers, has created almost 12,000 different card products.
Affinity relationships-supported by herculean marketing efforts-have been key to this explosion of card products and double-digit market share growth, says Bob Landry, retail banking analyst for The Tower Group. The successful card issuers are grabbing customers where they "live" and offering interest rates, fees and card options to lure in big spenders. But ironically, when it comes to the Internet, these companies have been very slow to get many of their products on-line.
The credit card dynamos-and other card issuers-have been stymied by the amount of technical resources required to build hundreds or even thousands of card application forms for the Net. They've been further challenged to build an efficient workflow process to post these forms, a process that includes legally reviewing every single application.
But 1998 could see an end to this problem. Destiny Software, Inc., is planning to launch Granite Sculptor, software that enables issuers to create, manage and report against on-line credit card applications. "We've built this tool that provides a way for (card issuers) to use the Internet to acquire customers," says Destiny CEO Lucinda Duncalfe. "There are many variables that go into an application, so it allows a marketing person to set up a template, or a series of templates, that they can modify."
Applications are developed by typing in product characteristics like a card's APR, the legal disclaimer, fields needed on the form, etc. With this data, Granite Sculptor builds the card application in HTML. And because application characteristics are defined in Sculptor, marketers can manipulate the forms without calling in "techies" to write or alter code. It becomes an easy and efficient business process-one that will soon tie into a real-time credit decisioning system for the Internet, thanks to a recent deal with HNC Software.