Outside of the top 5 big banks (TD, Royal Bank, CIBC, Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank), which control much of the financial industry in Canada, it is slim pickings thereafter. American Express has a decent foothold in the Canadian credit card market, but there are a few companies that can breakthrough if they made some bolder moves.
For today’s post, I am going to focus on the current status and what it could be like going forward. I could probably go on forever about what was in the past, but it has already been well documented enough, so I am going to talk more about the present and the future.
Below, I am going to list some of the credit card companies that I think are due for a breakthrough because of their current credit card portfolio, the status of their momentum and what they could do next.
First off, I am going to start with an honourable mention: Chase Canada. I would included have easily put Chase on the list, but they really took a beating in the past 2 years by discontinuing so many products. All they really have left are the Chase Amazon.ca Rewards Visa Card and Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Card. These are actually 2 very competitive products. If you look at them as is, they seem like they have a lot of potential. Unfortunately, they are in reverse momentum right now. They have a higher chance of completely shutting down, rather than growing. I don’t see both products being discontinued, but I do see them being sold off to another company, when the right buyer comes along. I am still secretly hoping for a major revival, so let’s hope that happens!
Below are the top 3 companies that I really believe should make some sort of breakthrough, hopefully in the next 12 – 18 months.
Caisse Popular or Desjardins only really has the Odyssey Gold Visa Card. They are however trying to expand their services to other provinces. I am uncertain as to whether they want to expand in a big way, testing the waters with small expansion. Or they are just setting up services across the province so that when Quebecors move away, they can keep their bank accounts active.
Regardless of their reason for expansion, I still see expansion. So if they are going to try to expand, at least do it properly. It is time for them to offer more competitive credit cards. That will really get their name out there. One competitive credit card can do wonders for marketing for a credit card company. It really puts them on the map. It is time for Desjardins to make that bold move if they are considering expansion anyway. At least expand with a sweet product in your inventory.
National Bank is kind of considered the 6th big bank. They just can’t seem to breakthrough the ranks of the top 5. If they ever want to be taken seriously, they really need to step up their game. They a few products here and there, like the National Bank World MasterCard, National Bank Ultramar MasterCard and National Bank World Elite MasterCard. But no game changer credit cards. They really need to partner up with a loyalty program and provide a co-branded credit card to get the ball rolling. They are really missing the boat right now. All the other 5 big banks of partnered up with at least 1 major loyalty program that they can channel a lot of energy towards. Now it is time for National Bank to follow suit.
1) Capital One
They only really have 2 significant products. The Capital One Platinum MasterCard and Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCard. Partnering up with Costco was actually a very big score for them. Also, they have some positive changes of the Aspire card where there is no more tiering system, which I have complained about on many occasions. They shut down quite a few cards in the last 2 years, the positive way of looking at it is that they consolidated their portfolio so have an opportunity to shift their focus to something better. Now it is time for them to capitalize on their momentum by making a strong push with a new and competitive product.
As you may have noticed from the display picture, I am a little biased as I am a big fan of Capital One. But right now, I am not afraid to say that their portfolio isn’t going to cut it, so I really hope they come through for me!
If I had to predict which one has the highest chance of breaking through, I have to say that they are all equal. They all have an equal chance. They are all positioned nicely to capitalize on an under competitive market. So there is some business to be had for these companies.
But who would actually step up? Again, I feel like they all have an equal chance. They all seem to be making some minor moves here and there.
So here is what I am going to do. I am going to challenge Desjardins, National Bank and Capital One to step up their game. Whoever does the best job will get the best review post by me in a year or so. If you don’t see any post from me, that probably means that no one stepped up in a big way and I don’t think that I need to write a post about how disappointed I am.