We chat with Citi's Head of Credit Cards to discuss Citi's plans for 2010 and beyond.
Please note that this interview was conducted in 2010. As such, the questions and responses were relevant and correct at the time of publication. Please see our Citi credit cards guide for more up to date information.
Citibank is the world's largest issuer of Credit Cards. In Australia, Citibank are set to shake up the big four, teaming up with Virgin Money to release a new credit card offer later this year.
We spoke with Madeline O'Connor, Head of Credit Cards, Citibank Australia, to attain some insight in to Citibank's direction for 2010 and beyond.
Interview with Citibank's Madeline O'Connor
1. What are your thoughts on why there has been increased growth in the frequent flyer Emirates Citi Platinum card and the BP-Citibank MasterCard? How important are petrol savings to a credit card product
The Emirates Citi Platinum card offers 4 Skywards Miles per dollar spent and redemption with either Emirates or another airline partner. The card has proved to be a very popular alternative to other frequent flyer programs.
The BP Citibank MasterCard offers a point of differentiation to other rewards cards by providing cash-back rebates - a simple way to reward people for purchases made on their credit card. This product is specifically aimed at people who prefer tangible cash-back rebates from their everyday spend. As most households are dependent on their cars, petrol forms a large part of this expenditure. The BP Citi MasterCard provides a 5% cashback on fuel and other items purchased at BP service stations, as well as 0.5% cash back on purchases outside of BP. Ultimately, this product has the potential to provide relief to the weekly budget of its intended users.
2. How has your credit card portfolio fared over the recent down turn in terms of bad debt and delinquencies?
Citi has maintained its market position in terms of bad and doubtful debts and delinquency. As we know now, Australia's resilient economy faired far better than our global neighbours, so losses were extremely well contained
3. Can consumers expect Citibank's credit controls to loosen in 2010, making it easier for consumers to apply for credit cards?
Citi has a robust, stringent lending policy which is monitored and modified on an ongoing basis in response to an ever-changing operating environment. This will continue throughout 2010.
4. We've noticed a recent increase in advertising of the Citi Gold credit card. What are some key features of this card that differentiates it from competing offers available to consumers?
*Citi's Gold Card offers features including a competitive balance transfer option and up to 55 interest free days, compared to competing rewards cards that offer up to 44 interest free days. Citi provides a range of services including 24 hour call centre with free international calls. The card also includes a global rewards program and access up to 3,500 instant discounts at 8,000 locations, plus full range of complimentary insurance and emergency card replacement globally.
*Note: This card is no longer available
5. Citibank announced in September '09 that you would be teaming with Virgin to release a range of finance products. What can consumers expect with the Virgin credit card revival - will it pack the same punch that it did previously?
The Virgin Money-Citi Alliance will provide a comprehensive range of banking products and much-needed competition for Australians. Virgin is known for its ability to shake up the market, delivering innovation and value to consumers. They have demonstrated this around the world in airlines, music, trains and even space travel so consumers can expect the same level of product innovation and value when the first Virgin Money products are launched in 2010.
6. What should consumers keep a look out for from Citibank in 2010?
Citi has a strong track-record and history for bringing product innovation, particularly in the credit card space. This will continue to be an area of strength and focus for Citi with new products within the Credit card arena earmarked for launch in 2010.