I’ve been waging a bit of a campaign to convince consumers that searching and applying for credit cards online is the best way to go. (Now, obviously, I have a horse in this race: Outlaw publishes a comprehensive online card offers portal where visitors can seek out and compare the best deals from rival credit card issuers.)
Regardless of my economic alignments, though, I think the argument is compelling — and fairly obvious.
I find it comic that people still reply to credit card deals sent to them in the mail. Mass-blasted offers, on sheets of paper, that aren’t at all targeted to your specific spending or rewards needs.
Plus, a lot of these offers are just plain bad: exorbitant annual fees, no 0% introductory APR, low initial credit lines. Only the gullible reply to direct mail offers without doing their research first, in my view.
In a few years, this will be akin to using a mail order bride service to find your spouse. Applying for cards online, on the other hand, will be seen as something very close to online dating. Not something everyone does, of course, but not unusual either.
And although there are good and bad credit card deals to be found online, you can typically sort through the garbage and find an excellent offer within a matter of minutes (crowdsourcing and reading reviews certainly helps), whereas the mail offers are a bit harder to compare.
Another channel for card marketing that I think will become huge within the next few years is opt-in text message offers. Since your bank already has your mobile phone number and uses that to communicate things to you such as low balance alerts, direct deposit postings, and so forth… it’s not a stretch to imagine your bank using the same communication channel to extend a targeted credit card offer to you.
Brilliant for the banks since it drastically reduces their marketing costs (a text is cheaper to send than a brochure and application form), plus it allows for laser-like targeting and segmentation.
Any way you look at it, the days of direct mail credit card offers are numbered.
— provided by Outlaw; read more about which credit cards I recommend (and don’t recommend).
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