Concept testing service highlights most compelling reward account proposition

Michael Worledge

With savings accounts offering little or no interest, reward accounts provide customers with financial incentives for their loyalty. Yet, the most recent round of reviews by providers has seen some notable cuts. For example, Santander halved the headline interest rate on its successful 123 account and Nationwide stopped offering free travel insurance on its Flex Account

With this in mind and using Harris Interactive’s Concept Express service, we tested unbranded descriptions of high street reward accounts from four of the largest high street banks based on their updated propositions for 2017.

We found that:

  • Despite the cuts to its interest rate from 3% to 1.5%, Santander’s 123 account ranks first or equal first on purchase intent, distinctiveness, believability and importance
  • The Halifax Reward account was seen as least distinctive of the four, but the £100 switching bonus and no fee meant it came top on likeability
  • Although placing joint first on distinctiveness, Barclays Blue Rewards did less well on importance and purchase intent
  • Lloyds Bank’s Club Lloyds finished bottom on four of these five measures. When asked what consumers liked about the account, the specific lifestyle benefits offered by the account were not highlighted.

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It’s not a surprise to see some providers offer increased switching bonuses in recent weeks as they look to encourage switching following the reward cuts. With the value of reward accounts reducing, it will be interesting to see the impact on switching behaviour over the coming months; customers may feel less loyal following the cuts but may also consider whether moving will be time well spent.

There is a wider context to this. With open banking on the horizon, it is more important than ever for banks to continue to increase their future relevance and brand sustainability, not just through how they reward loyalty but also providing the tools and solutions that help to solve consumers’ banking problems.

Methodology:
The survey was conducted online in December 2016 amongst 600 UK adults aged 18+ who have a bank account, using Harris Interactive’s automated Concept Express concept testing service.

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  • bank rewards
  • Concept Express
  • Concept Testing
  • Proposition Testing