Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has taken
the top spot in the 2012 North American Credit Card Online Sales
Rankings conducted by US-based Forrester Research.
RBC topped the list of nine of the largest
North American credit card providers, which comprised American
Express, Bank of America, Bank of Montreal, Capital One, Chase,
CIBC, Citibank, TD Canada Trust and RBC.
The research firm reviewed user experience,
content, functionality and online application and RBC topped the
list with a score of 79.
CIBC and Bank of Montreal followed with scores
of 66 and 65 respectively. JPMorgan Chase ranked lowest on the list
with a score of 46.
According to Forrester, the report aims to
give eBusiness professionals a sense of the current state of the
market, a range of best practices, and a view into where credit
card acquisition is heading.
It said: “Before eBusiness professionals at
credit card companies can prioritise digital initiatives, they must
understand where they stand compared with their peers.”
Forrester applied its website benchmark
methodology to evaluate and rank the providers’ websites. It
examined almost 50 individual criteria that measure a website’s
ability to move visitors toward their goals.
The review was further divided into two areas:
a user experience section based on Forrester’s website user
experience review methodology, and a look at specific content and
functionality requirements that define a best-practice credit card
sales and acquisition website.
The scores were based on a 100-point scale,
with a score of 50 or higher meeting the minimum standards. On
average, North American card providers scored 60 out of 100.
The report reveals that the perception of
trust is a strong area for most card providers as they “excel at
instilling a sense of trust in site visitors who research and apply
for credit cards online”. On average, card providers scored 71 in
this category, with RBC scoring a category best of 89.
However, the report also points out that many
struggle with content presentation, including ineffective page
layouts, poor text legibility and inefficient space usage. The
average score in the presentation category was 49 out of 100.
The website user experience criteria was
evaluated based on the following objectives:
• to measure the degree to which the website
has the content and functionality that users need to complete their
• to ensure that the website is designed in a
manner that allows users to complete these goals easily and
• to ensure that the website presents content
and functionality in a way that makes the information easy for
users to consume; and
• to make sure that users feel confident when
using the website.
RBC scored the best overall in every
Lenders that have fared well in the ranking,
according to the Forrester report, deliver content and
functionality that users expect, provide clear navigation and
simplified task flows, have well-laid-out pages and content, and
build trust by helping users feel secure and well informed while
The report further suggests that for credit
card issuers to do better, they must work on the information
architecture, as navigation of most credit card sites is “single
Merchandising should be a front-of-mind term
for eBusiness professionals in charge of online sales and
marketing, according to the report. It suggests that card issuers
should focus on ‘onboarding’ as effective sales do not end with a
booked product, and getting new card customers engaged with the
product is a “key consideration that ensures that the money spent
acquiring the new account is not lost”.
Credit cards are the top selling financial
product in both the US and Canada. In the US, the majority of
credit card applicants apply online, and in Canada, the percentage
is second only to the branch.