ANZ: enticing consumers with creativity to steal the lead

13th October 2006
By Emily Tonkin

With designmycard, ANZ has become the first Australian issuer to introduce customized picture cards.

ANZ has reignited the competitive pressures in the Australian cards market with yet another innovative offering. The product, designmycard, is a customized program that allows cardholders to choose a design to have printed on their card. This program is yet another innovative feature that should help propel ANZ to the position of Australia's leading card issuer.

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ANZ is one of the 'major four' banks in Australia, with more than $220 billion in assets at the end of September 2005. The bank recently launched its designmycard program, which allows both credit and debit cardholders to choose an image for the card face. Customers are required to complete an online application and pay a design fee and then, after 10 days, the card is delivered. While this feature is available in other countries, ANZ is the first issuer to introduce it to Australia's card market.

Competition in Australia's credit card market has intensified in recent years with the introduction of many non-bank and foreign players entering the market. Consequently, many traditional banks have lost market share. However, ANZ has been the exception to this rule, having continually gained market share in the last year to become the second largest issuer with 19% of the market.

ANZ's success reflects its strategy to remain on-par or ahead of the other aggressive players. It is regarded as being one of the most innovative major banks in the country. It was the first major bank to introduce a low-rate card with a 0% balance transfer as well as other co-branded credit cards, which have brought in new business. The bank's latest innovation, designmycard, is likely to bring further success to ANZ as it offers the customer individuality, which should prove very appealing.

While other issuers are expected to introduce this feature to their own product offerings soon, ANZ has the advantage of being first to market. If ANZ continues to prove such an innovative player in the future, it threatens to take the place of leading credit card issuer the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA). CBA currently holds just 1% more market share than ANZ and, given ANZ's recent success in market share gains, it may not be too long before this gap is closed.
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