2016 Annual U.S. Debit Rewards Review with U.K. Comparison


Debit rewards programs are available to most checking account customers, both in the U.S. and the U.K.

Mercator Advisory Group releases research on trends in consumer checking account ownership and market forces affecting debit card rewards

Author: Sarah Grotta
Published on: February 23, 2016

Decreases in checking account ownership as a result of competition from online-only banks and alternative financial providers, plus Millennials’ professed love for rewards have increased the importance of debit card rewards. Mercator Advisory Group’s research report, 2016 Annual U.S. Debit Rewards Review with U.K. Comparison, examines how the 50 largest banks and credit unions, plus the leading online-only banks in the U.S. are supporting rewards programs to help manage these market forces while balancing challenges with profitability.

“The market is showing greater reliance on merchant-funded discount networks (MFDNs), to defray the cost of rewards. Also, there is a slight shift toward relationship rewards which has some very practical opportunities. It allows financial institutions to promote or deemphasize certain products and services while allowing additional lines of business, to share in the support of these programs,” comments Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group and author of the report.

This report also looks at the U.K. market and the role that rewards play in retaining consumers’ loyalty. The U.K. bankers are experiencing unprecedented competition from new financial institutions called “challenger banks” and a countrywide initiative to make it easier and faster for consumers to switch from their current banks to competitors.

This report has 19 pages and 9 exhibits (including 3 appendix tables with reward program details).

Companies mentioned in this report include: Ally Bank, BB&T, Bank5 Connect, Bank of the Internet USA, Barclays, Capital One, Charles Schwab, Discover, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Financial Conduct Authority, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS, World Bank, and more.


Highlights of the report include:

  • Understanding the evolving consumer trends in checking account ownership in the United States 
  • Changes in debit card ownership and usage 
  • Review of market forces that impact debit rewards 
  • Trends in the use of merchant-funded discount networks and relationship rewards 
  • A survey of debit reward programs at the 25 largest banks and 25 largest credit unions in the U.S. 
  • A comparison with U.K. banks and their use of account rewards



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