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Banking war on credit cards

23/12/2011 08:36
Banks are on an undeclared war to increase their share in the credit card market of €2 billion this year.

In the past few weeks, they have ‘bombarded’ the credit card holders with offers ahead of Christmas holidays, encouraging them to spend.

Offers include points, miles, bonuses, even cash to boost the credit card use, in a period that the market is exceptionally stagnated due to the liquidity problems and the banks’ reluctance to grant loans.

Some banks offer up to three times the points for credit card purchases during Christmas, with a right to cash them out with gifts.

Privileges also include miles credit, which can be cashed out in trips to Europe.

Another privilege is the return of part of the purchases on a three month basis through vouchers for super market purchases.

The credit card users can take part in draws for cash and airline tickets.

Greeting cards and discount vouchers have been added to the “weapons”.

According to latest JCC data, the use of credit cards in 2011 has recorded an increase of 11% to €1949.5 million.

This increase is partly attributable to the payment of additional services via credit cards (license renewal, phone and electricity bills) as well as the liquidity problems that the households face.