With over three million co-branded cards in issue, MasterCard Europe has
acknowledged Turkey as its number one country for affinity and co-branded
card programmes in Europe.
The announcement also marks the success of one of Turkey”s most recent
co-branded programmes: Axess by Akbank, which is now the fastest growing in
Europe, with one million cards issued in just nine months.
“Up until now the UK has always been our lead country for co-branded and
affinity cards,” said Carol Stanton, Co-Branding Manager, MasterCard
Europe. “But the UK”s lead has been snatched by Turkey with an unrivalled
example of co-branding best practice. Banks in the country are surprising
and delighting cardholders with customized benefits and incentives based on
their spending behavior, and delivering them via chip-based cards a case
of Turkish delight for everyone involved.”
Three multi-partner programmes now dominate the Turkish market;
* Garanti “BONUS MasterCard” is the largest MasterCard co-brand in
Europe with 1.5 million cards in circulation. There are ten different
merchant categories and 510 partner merchants participating in the
programme, most of whom are large retail chains. Cardholders accumulate a
certain percentage of their purchase value as BONUS points (1 BONUS point
equals 1 Turkish Lira). The BONUS programme is innovative in that it
customizes cardholders” statements, giving suggestions for purchases based
on previous spending patterns.
* Akbank “Axess” MasterCard is a multi-branded programme with 119
different partner brands in sectors such as clothing, cosmetics, health,
home decoration, travel, petrol, white goods, restaurants and cafÃÂ©s.
Launched less than a year ago, Axess is a unique programme as a chip-based
credit card combining real-time rewards and rebate facilities.
* Isbank “Maximum” MasterCard is another innovative loyalty
programme. The accumulated MaxiPoints (1 MaxiPoint equals 1 Turkish Lira)
are stored centrally by the bank, with the POS device at Maximum merchant
locations making the online connection to the bank for every transaction.
There are currently 5,000 merchant locations offering Maximum advantages.
As an additional benefit, Isbank runs a VIP lounge at Istanbul
International Airport, which all Maximum cardholders are invited to use,
free of charge, prior to any international departure.
A key component facing the development of affinity and co-branding products
in the future is the growing evolution of chip-based smart card programmes.
As Stanton explains, “These latest programmes in Turkey reinforce the fact
that the cardholder should not be viewed as a “walking wallet” but as an
individual with an identity, a lifestyle, a history and a future full of
very personal choices. With a chip in the card, the programme can be
designed to be as smart and as comprehensive as the card itself.Ã¢ÂÂ
The Rest of Europe
Although the UK has been knocked down to second position in MasterCard
Europe”s league table, the shift may be short-term. As Stanton explains,
Ã¢ÂÂIn the UK we note a significant trend towards private label migration and
we predict a number of key programmes starting up throughout 2003Ã¢ÂÂ.
Traditionally strong players, Spain, Italy and the Nordic countries are
also estimating growth throughout next year. The Nordic region, for
example, accounts for a high number of programmes in relation to its size
and has shown a strong trend towards the proliferation of private label
conversions and conventional affinity launches.
Germany continues to show a marked response to the repeal of the
“Rabatzgesetz” which historically precluded the linkage of loyalty points
and incentives to card programmes. Karstadt Quelle, a MasterCard co-branded
card launched in June is a case in point, with thousands of cards already
MasterCard”s Eastern European financial institutions have also demonstrated
how affinity and co-branded programmes can be used to full effect as
segmentation tools and as a means of differentiating product offerings.
Retailers continue to dominate the affinity and co-branded card sector due
mostly to the high number of private label conversions. Many new co-brands
are an extension of existing retail loyalty programmes (e.g. Homebase in
the UK) or internet loyalty programmes (Mypoints in the UK and Webmiles in
Despite the recent vulnerability of the sector, airlines continue to
introduce new programmes with MasterCard, with the launch this year of SAS
Corporate and Eurobonus in the Nordic Countries. Similarly, newcomers in
the technology area such as telcos, Internet and digital television players
are beginning to co-brand virtual cards.
Ã¢ÂÂThe affinity card market,Ã¢ÂÂ explains Stanton Ã¢ÂÂis considered mature in
certain markets yet offers useful acquisition purposes for example, novelty
appeal limited edition cards (Coca Cola Light, World Cup), or emotional
bonding as demonstrated by the wealth of charity programmes providing
tangible benefits to good causes. Together with co-branded cards, these
programmes demonstrate the diversity of consumer choice now available for
cardholders in Europe.Ã¢ÂÂ
About MasterCard International
MasterCard International has a comprehensive portfolio of well-known,
widely accepted payment brands including MasterCard, Cirrus and
Maestro. More than 1.7 billion MasterCard, Cirrus and Maestro logos are
present on credit, charge and debit cards in circulation today. With
approximately 25,000 MasterCard, Cirrus and Maestro members worldwide,
MasterCard serves consumers and businesses, both large and small, in 210
countries and territories. MasterCard is a leader in quality and
innovation, offering a wide range of payment solutions in the virtual and
traditional worlds. MasterCard”s award-winning Priceless advertising
campaign is now seen in 90 countries and in 45 languages, giving the
MasterCard brand a truly global reach and scope. With more than 28 million
acceptance locations, no payment card is more widely accepted globally than
MasterCard. For the six months ended June 30, 2002, gross dollar volume
exceeded US$534 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its website at
MasterCard’s Istanbul office was opened in 1993. At that time the market
share of MasterCard branded cards was merely 9%.
The Turkish banking system is considerably competitive. There is little
room for differentiation, particularly with consumer card programmes. As a
leader of co-branded programmes worldwide, the MasterCard Europe Istanbul
office started to concentrate on co-branded cards. It was three years
before the banks and partner companies finally embraced the concept. The
first co-branded card in Turkey was introduced in 1997 it was a MasterCard
branded card. The new concept of revolving credit plus additional
cardholder benefits changed the Turkish market irreversibly. At the same
time, merchants started to introduce installment payments for credit cards.
In 1998, the first multi-branded card in Turkey was introduced, again with
the MasterCard brand. This was linked to a large shopping mall in Istanbul
where all the shops in the shopping mall were offering tangible benefits to
the cardholders. It was the first such co-brand product in Europe. Very
soon, again as a first in Europe, Turkish banks started to make agreements
with various merchant locations such as supermarkets and petrol stations to
offer specific benefits for the MasterCard cardholders shopping at those
locations. From 2000 to improve the concept one step further, the banks
started to offer multi-branded MasterCard cards carrying chips. Those
MasterCard cards started to offer Turkish cardholders the first customized
and personalized services to cardholders.
This resulted in the largest multi-branded programme, not only in Turkey,
but also in Europe. There are now 80 co-branded MasterCard programmes in
Turkey. More than 40% of the total MasterCard portfolio in Turkey consists
of multi-branded cards.