Miles ahead: UOB’s unique debit card soars on KrisFlyer partnership

UOB’s goal is to be the best-in-class player in the debit card market. Through innovation and enterprising efforts, KrisFlyer UOB Debit Card, a one-of-a-kind product, was launched, which has leapfrogged competition to remain a firm favourite of customers.

As a bank with a rich heritage and history in Singapore, UOB has to constantly innovate, stay on top of trends and position itself early for opportunities. One product that embodies all these attributes is the KrisFlyer UOB Debit Card, which was awarded the Debit Card of the Year award in The Digital Banker’s 2023 Global Retail Banking Innovation Awards.

This well-deserved accolade is the crowning achievement of the hallmark product of UOB that was first unveiled in April 2017 before being enhanced in January 2018 and revamped again in November 2022.

The KrisFlyer UOB Debit Card and KrisFlyer UOB Account were conceived with a simple idea: to meet the needs of travellers of any age. To that end, the KrisFlyer UOB Debit Card and Account was the first of its kind – it was the first debit card in Singapore to award miles on top of interest; it was the first product to offer tiered miles earn rate for deposits; and it was the first card to offer exclusive privileges with co-brand partner KrisFlyer by Singapore Airlines Group.

FIRST MOVER

Those offerings proved popular among the Singapore diaspora. But after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, UOB was quick to position itself for the comeback of travel when borders reopened. Recognising the need to give its customers something extra, UOB and KrisFlyer enhanced the benefits of the debit card in November 2022, boosting miles earned on purchases, offering more welcome miles, complimentary upgrades in status as a KrisShopper, as well as a host of other benefits. Equally importantly, UOB didn’t forget the importance of marketing the refreshed benefits to its cardholders. The bank, in collaboration with KrisFlyer, undertook a large-scale campaign to raise the card’s awareness and uniqueness.

Thanks to these efforts, digital ad impressions were close to 1.3 million over a short period of less than three months, while UOB’s site traffic soared 284% month-on-month in November versus during the pre-launch month of October. New KrisFlyer UOB account applications have increased close to 300% year on year. Card applications exceeded sign-ups by nearly 200% year on year, while UOB’s card billings jumped over 30%.

By identifying that miles are predominantly earned through credit card spending, the KrisFlyer UOB Debit Card and Account enables the bank to meet the needs of the millennial demographic, which are often ineligible to apply for credit cards due to income restrictions. Additionally, clients are also rewarded with a base interest for their balance in the account – appealing to people as it allows them to spend to earn miles, but also save to earn interest.

STRONG ESG AGENDA

UOB was also given the Highly Acclaimed award for the Best ESG Initiative by The Digital Banker. As an 88-year-old institution, the bank has evolved with time, and has made sustainability a strategic priority in recent years. In line with its Asean growth ambition, UOB’s focus has been to promote sustainable living across the region, provide sustainable wealth advisory and investment offerings, as well as sustainable spending and lifestyle financing options.

This has led to the introduction of many products, like Go Green Home and Car Loans, Southeast Asia’s first bio-sourced credit card, a marketplace to raise awareness of green electricity plans, sustainable investment frameworks across fixed income and equities, and ways to drive sustainable innovation and financial literacy among the population.

This business model shows why customers’ trust in UOB hasn’t dimmed with time. By offering tools for a seamless, secure and rewarding financial experience and by relying on innovation to offer customers financial empowerment, UOB’s proposition remains unmatched.

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