Can a credit card be “cool”? If so, how?
A credit card is one of the most used tools in our life, not sure how many people carry cash for purchases anymore -- I don’t. It offers convenience, it offers safety, and it offers status and prestige. It is an indispensable tool in our life.
With that role, of course a credit card can be cool. There are multiple attributes defining how cool a credit card is. The basic attributes are visual -- the color, size, and design. Then come benefits -- annual fee, APR, rewards, points, transaction fees, etc.
Which attributes are cooler than others depends on the person. In terms of visuals, I am attracted to configurations of black and gold together (Wells Fargo Rewards card), shades of blue (American Express Blue Cash). I also like cool designs, such as HSBC Cash Rewards.
But I think cards can be cooler by allowing consumers to choose their designs. Consumers love using symbols to make a statement about themselves; give them the chance to pick a nature design, their favorite celebrity, their favorite animal or flower, and then you are cooler than others.
Also, the size and shape of cards can be an aspect of cool. When I was a Ph.D. student, Discover had a small card that was tucked in a little slip that I was able to put on my keychain. That was really cool back then, maybe good for younger generations.
In terms of benefits, cash is the king. They should offer consumers every flexibility to save, or earn cash back. Based on my experience, I can rate the importance of the benefits in this order: no annual fee, 2% or higher reward rate, online or phone service speed (I hate waiting on the phone to reach someone when I need to), no foreign transaction fees, insurance on travel and car rental, and APR.
How often do you think the average person notices someone else’s credit card?
All the time. Like I said, it is a sign of prestige, so you pay attention to the color, the name of the bank, or if it is a Visa or other type right away.
What’s cooler: rewards or 0% APRs?
I say rewards, because I never defer my payments. But for someone else who needs time to pay off, APR maybe more significant. This is why credit card companies need to offer benefits with an effective segmentation strategy based on research. If they need such research, Rosen College of Hospitality Management at UCF has the resources to offer the state-of-the-art research.
Which would you say is the coolest credit card on the market?
I think American Express Blue Cash Everyday is the coolest card on the market. With its transparent frame and blue center, it looks innovative. No annual fee, high cash back rate and excellent customer service are irresistible. Besides, American Express means prestige by itself.