Security Bank’s NEXT Mastercard: the card for the savvy millennial?

It is not a product release that will appeal to everyone but then that is not the aim of the Security Bank NEXT Mastercard. It is a perfect example of a segmentation strategy targeted at the millennial generation, writes Douglas Blakey

Security Bank is coming through the challenges of the pandemic in resilient shape with solid financial results. And its self confidence is also evident in its ambitions to grow its market share among the millennial segment, such as the launch of its NEXT Mastercard credit card

Few banks can boast a 48% rise in revenue for fiscal 2020, amid the nightmare of the Covid pandemic. But the eighth-largest bank in The Philippines, namely Security Bank, is also able to post pre-provision operating profit 85% higher than a year ago for fiscal 2020.

Even fewer banks can report a 12-percentage point drop in the cost-income ratio for the same period, from 51.1% to 39.1%.

The results are boosted significantly by a 14% rise in net interest income, a neat trick to pull off in the era of low interest rates. On the other hand, less positive metrics include allowances for credit losses as a proportion of total loans rising to 4.7% from 1.3% a year ago.

But overall, Security Bank is entering what everyone hopes is the beginning of the end of the pandemic in robust shape and in confident form. And that extends to the bank’s product innovation and segmentation strategies.

Security Bank NEXT Mastercard: no annual fees for life

Take the Security Bank, NEXT Mastercard for example. Launched in March, it is being dubbed as the credit card for the savvy millennial, NEXT features no annual fees for life. In the local market, competitor credit cards currently levy annual fees ranging from PHP1,000 ($20.60) to PHP5,000.

In addition, the NEXT Mastercard is the only card in the country that automatically converts purchases of PHP5,000 and above into 12-month instalments. And so, the card will be perfect for expenses such as rent, tuition fees and professional service fees.

The bank says that the card is an example of its mission to provide consumers with what it terms ‘BetterBanking products and services’.

The card also features Security Bank’s latest credit card service, SimplyPay, a payment method that allows customers to pay for big-ticket purchases of up to PHP500,000 to merchants who require bank deposit payments. Eligible applicants require to be permanent employees with at least one years tenure. They need to earn a minimum of PHP540,000 per year if they currently hold another credit card or PHP600,000 if they have no existing credit card.

Alternatively, applicants are eligible if they own a business that has been profitable for the past three years.

Those requirements in themselves will limit the mass market appeal of the card and the product may not move the dial materially in terms of local market share. But the launch is a worthy effort to optimise card segmentation and marketing in The Philippines.