SCB and Arpico launch first retail co-branded credit card
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 00:42
By Cheranka Mendis
Sri Lanka yesterday received its first-ever retail co-branded credit card with the alliance sealed with a handshake and a replica of the card between Standard Chartered Bank and Arpico Supercentre.
The card, providing a host of benefits to the loyal customers of both institutes, is expected to create a new culture in retail and banking in the country.
Standard Chartered Bank Sri Lanka CEO Anirvan Ghosh Dastidar speaking at the launch held at Hilton Colombo Residences last evening noted that credit cards were no longer seen as a bank product but as a fast moving consumer product. The concept of credit cards has evolved so much so that over the years, a credit card has become more like a FMCG product that can be purchased off the shelves of Arpico.
“There is very little to choose from – interest rates are the same, etc.,” Dastidar said. What stands out now are alliances and partnerships – this is the new mantra of credit cards.
“It is good for us as a bank,” he said referring to the co-branded credit card launched. “We already have a very strong client, SriLankan Airlines. It was the first in trying out an alliance, which has been very successful.”
Moving into a new segment, supermarkets, Dastidar expressed confidence that this too would bring positive results. “We would like to see clients and customers move from other supermarkets because of the value for the wallet and the loyalty programs. We are really looking forward to this alliance because it is a first,” he added.
SCB Head of Credit Cards and Loans Shehani Rozairo explaining the salient features of the co-branded credit card noted that the card could be used as two-in-one card – as a credit card as well as a privilege card collecting loyalty privilege points.
“When we designed the card, our aim was to provide the best in terms of value to our customers; not just in terms of seasonal discounts but with the intention of providing customers ongoing benefits,” Rozairo acknowledged.
The card is accepted across all merchants both locally and internationally and has all features and benefits of a credit card.
It also has a number of key value propositions. Currently customers earn one privilege point for every Rs. 100 spent at Arpico. With the new card, customers will enjoy three privilege points for every Rs. 100. One point equals Rs. 3 with the new card while the Arpico Privilege Card alone only gives Rs. 1 for a point.
The entire network of partners which will award customers privilege points has also been expanded. “Right now you only earn points at Arpico, but with this co-branded credit card, every time you make a purchase at other partner merchants, one point is earned for every Rs. 200 spent. These points get transferred on a monthly basis, while the Arpico points are awarded instantly.”
SCB has also worked with Arpico to give discounts on an ongoing basis to add value to customers in terms of discounts.
Along with the co-branded credit card, customers also get vouchers worth Rs. 75,000 across a range of merchants (not only Arpico) which can be redeemed at their partner establishments. “SCB has always had offers on a year-round basis, during seasons, special campaigns, etc. We have around 50-75 merchants, which would bring in discounts between 15-35%.”
Rozairo added: “We also offer balance transfers to customers on a preferential interest rates. We have a hassle-free service called loan on card service – a loan that works on credit cards. Smart cheques for educational distributes, free of charge international concierge services, zero surcharges where we partner with travel agents where customers are not surcharged when they use the card and travel insurance are some of the other services that we offer. In short this is the only card that allows customers triple points. It is very relevant to our customers and is packed with benefits.”