Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Sagicor Bank enters credit card market

Published:Friday | November 7, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Sagicor Bank Jamaica Limited is going after a bigger share of the multibillion-dollar credit card market, having inherited the business line with the acquisition of RBC Royal Bank Jamaica by its parent.

Sagicor Bank before the merger did not offer the service, but it has now launched rebranded MasterCard and Visa credit cards, which the bank's assistant manager for cards & e-channels, Stacy Goodin, says continues the relationship that RBC had with the US-based card companies.

Jamaica's credit card market was last valued by the central bank at $161 billion in 2013, while credit card spending was estimated to have increased by $4.29 billion between January and August 2014.

Sagicor aims to differentiate its products through card benefits, which includes a cashback offer of five per cent on purchases at gas stations, pharmacies and supermarkets, which Goodin says is now the highest on the market.

"We can also boast the most reward choices per card, with at least two reward options per card from which cardholders can choose," she said.

"Earnings are recorded as rewards points and cardholders may redeem them for the reward of their choice. For example, Sagicor MasterCard Gold cardholders can choose from cash back, investment, gift cards, travel and hotel accommodations."

Sagicor Bank is entering the market at the same time that No. 2 bank Scotiabank Jamaica has upped the ante with a tiered cashback system for its MasterCard Gold - a product aimed at Jamaicans earning at least $90,000 (US$800) monthly - has been introduced for specific locations, "irrespective of total dollar value of their purchases", according to vice-president of marketing, public and corporate affairs, Monique Todd.

The offer includes three per cent cashback for credit card purchases with groceries, the same for gas and two per cent for pharmacies. Previously, such purchases earned one per cent cashback.

"The rewards will be automatically calculated on each statement received by customers," said Todd.

"We believe that the one per cent, two per cent, three per cent cashback value proposition of the Scotiabank MasterCard Gold is attractive and will result in increased demand for the product and attract new customers," she said.

New and existing cardholders may also acquire supplemental cards for free for family members or friends. The bank says it will waive the annual member's fee on supplemental cards.

Todd declined to state the bank's total credit card portfolio, or even how the segment has grown over the past year, but noted that MasterCard Gold was a significant portion of the portfolio.

Goodin of Sagicor Bank also declined to disclose market share, saying "this is proprietary information that we regrettably cannot share."