Small business card issuers offering big incentives to drive spending

BBVA Compass recently promoted its new Visa Business Rewards credit card on its Facebook page.  The card offers 5,000 points in each of the first 6 months if the new cardholder spends at least $500 on the card in that month, so a total of 30,000 points.

This is consistent with a wider trend among leading small business card issuers to offer bonuses of 10,000+ points to encourage small business cardholders in order to activate and continue to use their cards.  Small business cards still have a relatively small share of small business spending, and issuers see significant growth opportunities.

Other small business cards that feature with aggressive bonus offers include:

More banks launch initiatives for National Small Business Week

Earlier this month, we posted a blog on small business initiatives from Citi, TD Bank and Wells Fargo, which were introduced in advance of National Small Business Week. As National Small Business Week is taking place this week, other leading banks have also introduced new small business initiatives.

  • Chase introduced a number of initiatives, including incentives of up to $1,000 for new small business checking customers, as well as Instant Storefront from Chase, a solution that enables small businesses sell products online.
  • Bank of America launched a suite of small business charge cards (see our blog on this launch).  In addition, the bank has partnered with SCORE to develop a five-part series of three-hour workshops for small businesses, entitled “Simple Steps for Starting Your Business.”
  • Capital One partnered with Better Business Bureau to introduce Managing Credit – Made Simpler, a set of resources to help small businesses to manage credit.
  • American Express OPEN introduced AdManager, a tool to help small businesses manage online advertising campaigns

It is notable that the number of small business campaigns is much larger this year than it was for National Small Business Week in 2010, reflecting the improved economy over the past year, as well as banks’ renewed interest in the small business market.

Bank of America launches suite of small business charge cards

Earlier this week, Bank of America introduced of a suite of three small business charge cards. Up to now, Bank of America has only issued small business credit cards.

This new suite will compete in the small business charge card space with leader American Express, as well as Chase, which now issues an Ink Bold charge card as part of its Ink small business card suite.

This new charge card suite will also compete with small business credit cards.  Leading small business credit card issuers retrenched significantly following the financial crisis in the second half of 2008.  Since then, some leading issuers have returned to the market, but small business cards are now marketed less as sources of working capital, and more as payment vehicles.  And there is significant spending growth potential for small business credit and charge cards, as card’s share of overall small business spending is much lower than card’s share of consumer spending.

Marketing such cards also enables issuers to maintain relationships with small business customers, who can then be cross-sold additional products and services, including lending products as confidence returns to the market.