Small-business owners in the United States should expect to see more credit card offers in their mailboxes in the coming months as issuers begin to target the segment, according to Mintel Comperemedia.
The Chicago market research company said that mailings have been flat this year, after declining in 2008, but the improving economy is prompting some issuers to increase their solicitation mail volume.
Between January 2008 and January 2009, business card mailings dropped by 82%, but issuers are starting to tip the scale toward more business card offers, Mintel's tracking data shows.
Andrew Davidson, a Mintel senior vice president, pointed to JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s new Ink cards as evidence that more large issuers are targeting the small-business market. Ink is a suite of business card products, including a charge card that will compete with American Express Co.'s main product. JPMorgan Chase earlier this month launched a marketing campaign that includes direct mail to promote the cards.
"Chase's decision to launch a charge card in this economy and go head to head with one of Amex's flagship products is significant," Davidson said. "It demonstrates a confidence in the market and a willingness to innovate."
JPMorgan Chase has become the top mailer in small-business cards, Mintel said. In the second quarter, solicitations from the banking company accounted for 41% of offers received by Mintel's small-business panel, up from 26% a year earlier.
In the same period, American Express accounted for less than 7% of mailings, down from 23%.
Other issuers, such as Barclays PLC's Barclaycard U.S. unit and Citigroup Inc., have also increased mailings to small businesses, Mintel said.
"After scaling back significantly in 2008, card issuers are starting to look at small businesses again," Davidson said. "Small businesses have the ability to create jobs and drive economic growth, but after being starved of credit, they need all the help they can get."