The difference this time is that the banks are focusing these credit card offers on existing customers rather than blasting out applications to every person with a mailing address.
Reuters recently reported that Wells Fargo’s credit card mailings for November were up a whopping 45% over one year earlier. Even Bank of America, which had shed much of its credit business in the last few years, has begun increasing the number of new card accounts for the first time since the housing market went ka-flooey in 2008.
Banks salivate over the idea of selling credit cards to existing customers because it means additional revenue for the institution. Credit card payments go from the customers bank account to pay off their credit card bills and all the money stays under one roof.
BofA estimates that each checking account customer who is also a credit card holder brings in an additional $1,000 in revenue. When you’re talking about millions of customers, that’s a lot of cash just there for the taking.
“The opportunity ahead of us is tens of millions of customers still. It is not a small little opportunity,” BofA CEO Brian Moynihan explained to investors last November.