There is a growing number of financial institutions all fighting for customer attention. Established banks, challenger banks, credit unions, traditional credit cards, pre-pay cards and mobile wallets. Everyone wants their accounts and services to be the customers’ first choice.

Where to deposit my hard earned salary? Where to entrust precious life savings? Who should I use to make regular purchases, like the weekly food shop? All questions that these institutions are trying to answer with an array of different methods to attract and retain customers. Cashback schemes date back to 1986, when the Discover Card was launched nationally in the United States.

Cashback rewards are an established solution – simple cash-based motivation to buy specific products or visit specific stores. Customers today can log into their account to discover and activate the latest cashback offers for specific products and services they are interested in. Offers change frequently to encourage customer to engage regularly to catch the latest relevant deals.  

Once a cashback deal is activated, the customer visits the store or merchant, locates the right product and makes a purchase. They then get a percentage of the price as cashback. 

While everyone loves the thought of cashback, these schemes don’t always achieve strong customer relationships or meet customer acquisition, engagement, or retention goals.  

Undifferentiated offers don’t grow strong customer relationships

It takes considerable time and resource to implement and stock a competitive, product-focused cashback scheme. Most banks, credit unions, card issuers and wallets therefore either launch a small handful of primary offers or use a third-party solution with an established catalogue of stores and merchants. It’s a simple step, but one that results in everyone offering similar deals for the same products… Which eliminates differentiation and reduces success. 

Confusing… Frustrating… Annoying…  

Remembering to login, discover and activate the latest offers is a chore. Most people don’t bother and when they do, they have usually missed the cool offer they wanted.  

Once activated, cashbacks rarely guide the customer through a simple consistent purchase flow. Gaps occur between activation and purchase leaving customers to locate the right store and product. It’s easy to get lost, buy the wrong product, miss an expiry date, or use the wrong payment method.  

As brands combine subscriptions into Super Bundles, it becomes impossible to attribute a cashback correctly – getting Netflix from a telco is unlikely to trigger the related cashback offer. This means a well-meaning offer can easily result in an angry customer care call.  

Newer solutions remove the activation step – auto-enabling all cashback deals, making them instantly available. But this removes a reason to frequently login to the account and makes each offer invisible until stumbled upon while shopping. Most customers are unlikely to notice the small cashback added to their account a few weeks later and may view any notifications as spam.  

Who does the customer thank? Who benefits from the relationship? 

Cashback solutions are a marketing channel for merchants to make discount offers to the bank’s customers, driving their own customer acquisition and spend. The merchant is in control of the offer and ultimately owns the customer – they get the biggest customer relationship boost. And, since many cashbacks are one-time offers, effectively a referral fee, they fail to build an ongoing customer dialog or relationship for the bank, credit union, card issuer or wallet company. 

Directly owning the customer relationship is key to winning their hearts, trust and business

According to a recent Bango survey, 85% of consumers pay for one or more subscription services. An incredible 23% subscribing to 9 or more (Parks Associates, 2023). This includes Netflix, Amazon Prime, Xbox Game Pass, Peloton, Calm, Duolingo, Weight Watchers, Disney+, Amazon Music Unlimited and many more.  

This subscription economy is worth over $200 billion today. Forecasting to grow to nearly $600 billion by 2026 (PwC and Juniper Research).

This growth represents a unique opportunity for banks, credit unions, wallets, and card issuers to differentiate and capture their customers’ imagination. Subscription products provide the ideal incentive or reward because they build lasting, trusted relationships… and add new repeat revenue opportunities.  

Customers with multiple subscription services must manage those services separately, keeping track of trial periods and subsequent recurring payments. They need to keep track of all the different notifications and remember where to go to cancel, renew, upgrade or downgrade.  

As a result, over 75% of customers want to buy and manage their subscriptions from one source (Bango Survey, 2022). Unsurprisingly, nearly 50% of customers want to select, pay, and manage all their subscriptions with their bank, credit union, card, or wallet company – someone they trust to manage frequent spend. 

Taking ownership of customer subscription services is an ideal opportunity to establish a direct and engaging relationship with the customer.

1. Simple, consistent, and unified customer experiences

Customers just log into their account to see the latest subscription offers and can instantly try them out. At the end of a trial, customers are consistently notified, and payments automatically start. All without the need to enter payment details, or perform any fancy redemption steps with each service. It’s all instant, secure, and trusted.  

2. Super Bundle to deliver differentiation and value

Owning the customers’ subscriptions allows your financial institiution to combine multiple services into creative combos with better value. The top movie services, music with movies and games, or fitness and health together? Discounts and combo benefits can be directly applied as money-off or applied as cashbacks to maximize money-flow. The key in all cases is to retain a healthy direct customer relationship. 

3. Deliver enhanced trust and control

Financial control and trust are key values a bank, credit union, card issuer or wallet company provide. And precisely the value they can bring to their customer’s growing subscription purchases. It’s simple for a customer to review, combine and manage in one place. They can cancel anytime, or better still – swap services, pause, downgrade or upgrade. Any issues with payment and the service can be suspended or downgraded until resolved. This means there is no hard cancel to annoy customers or merchants. 

Solutions like Bango Resale provide a drop-in solution, with all the top subscription services pre-connected. It’s easy to go beyond traditional cashbacks and grow the strongest customer relationships, improving simplicity, cost efficiency and innovation.