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Changes in European Card Products Since 2015: Not Always As Expected

Thursday, May 18, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katie Beatty

First Annapolis has been closely monitoring European card products since October 2015 to identify issuers’ reactions to interchange regulation implemented in December 2015, and to track the evolution of product offerings and pricing. Twice a year, we review the card products offered by the largest issuers in 15 European countries, totaling 78 issuers and around 1,000 debit, credit, prepaid consumer, and business card products.

During the last three years, we have observed 275 product changes: of those, approximately 70% were unfavorable for cardholders (see Figure 1). As expected, issuers have increased pricing and reduced rewards in anticipation of and, in response to, interchange regulation. These changes have manifested in several ways other than simple fee increases or elimination of rewards programs:

  1. Low fee cards are increasingly being replaced by cards with higher fees;
  2. Newly released products rarely come without an annual or monthly fee;
  3. ATM withdrawal and foreign exchange (FX) fees have increased; and,
  4. Rewards have been capped.

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