Mercator has published a new research report on cardholder steering, the process by which customers are encouraged to use one payment card rather than another.
The report explores issuer steering techniques, primarily rewards incentives that shape consumer intentions before the sale, as well as merchant steering techniques, which have the advantage of immediacy of shaping choice at the point-of-sale.
“Customers can be very sensitive to the environment and social pressures at the checkout: social acceptability of payments (e.g. no large bills, no checks that draw undue attention), the speed of a transaction in a crowded line, not wanting to try out an unfamiliar transaction type, and of course a willingness to oblige a simple request (either by the cashier or by the POS terminal) to use a particular type of payment.”
Ah yes. I can’t count how many times cashiers across Asia have asked me, “Don’t you have a Visa card?” when I pull out my American Express card. And of course, I always put it back in my wallet and hand over my Visa card. No Membership Rewards on those transactions. Why can't I just say, "No, I won't give you my Visa card"?