Understanding cardholder behaviour and brand perception

How MasterCard leveraged traditional research in an innovative way to create value for its customers

By MasterCard.


Understanding of MasterCard’s customers’ customers, the cardholders.

In order to evolve towards a more consumer centric organisation, optimise sales support and create value for both MasterCard and its customers, MasterCard commission a quantitative tracking research across 25 European markets. The key objective of the study was to develop an in-depth understanding of MasterCard’s customers’ customers, the cardholders.


Qualitative and quantitative techniques

In preparation of the research several qualitative and quantitative surveys were conducted such as focus groups across 4 countries to identify the key image attributes for payment card brands. Later, a quantitative survey in four different countries was carried out. Furthermore, a qualitative ethnography study in 6 markets followed in order to identify drivers and barriers to payment card ownership & usage and to define criteria for attitudinal consumer segmentation to be introduced in the tracker study.

The program is doing between 30,000 and 40 000 interviews a year since 2010, spread across 25 countries. Key results are reported in a standardized and summarized way across the markets.

So what?

Internal and external alignment and standardised solutions for clients

The research program has evolved how MasterCard operates in several ways, both internally and in collaboration with its customers, driving ‘consumer first’ is now at the core of MasterCard’s activities. This evolution has been based on the setup, development and maintenance of the GCT-research tool (Global Consumer Tracker) that allows MasterCard to:

Bring a unique understanding of the market situation our partners are operating in. Today MasterCard has for all of the major European countries a standardized database containing 6 years of historical consumer data with significant base sizes for all of the major card issuers within each of those countries (allowing comparison of their customer base versus country average or major competitors)

Offer a platform for discussion on the opportunities/challenges our partners are facing within the payment/financial services area and providing the opportunity for cross-country benchmarking (given the standardized approach cross-Europe).

Deliver the solutions and best practices MasterCard can bring to the issuers and merchants (acquirers) based on the insights as laid out through the study and tapping into the opportunities identified for the specific partner.