Payment card rewards programs and consumer payment choice
Card payments have been growing very rapidly. To continue the growth, payment card networks keep adding new merchants and card issuers try to stimulate their existing customers’ card usage by providing rewards. This paper seeks to analyze the effects of payment card rewards programs on consumer payment choice, by using consumer survey data. Specifically, we examine whether credit/debit reward receivers use credit/debit cards relatively more often than other consumers, if so how much more often, and which payment methods are replaced by reward card payments. Our results suggest that (i) consumers with credit card rewards use credit cards much more exclusively than those without credit card rewards; (ii) even among those who carry a credit card balance, consumers with credit card rewards use a credit card more often than those without rewards; (iii) among consumers who receive credit card rewards, those who receive credit card rewards as well as debit card rewards tend to use debit cards more often than those who receive credit card rewards only; and (iv) reward card transactions seem to replace not only paper-based transactions but also non-reward card transactions.
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