As of the third quarter of 2011, there’re more than 268 million credit cards in circulation in China, according to a statistics by China’s ‘central bank’, the People’s Bank of China. Given the trifling 3 million mark back in 2003, the 90 times growth in less than ten years is quite astonishing. No wonder credit card business is deemed as the last piece of cheese in Chinese finance sector as well as the driven power and one of the main revenue sources for Chinese banks in the years to come. And the growth isn’t stopping soon, Mastercard Worldwide, the world’s second largest payment network estimated that China is on track to overtake the U.S. as the largest market for credit cards by 2020 with about 9 million cards in circulation.
With mounting competition as major Chinese banks flocked into the lucrative market to tout perspective customers for their own credit cards, issuing banks are working on whatever it takes to make their way into people’s wallet. Thus every Chinese bank has their own reward points program through which you can redeem free gifts with the points earned by charging your credit card. Also, they signed up scores of local merchants like restaurants, theaters, travel agencies and so forth to offer card holders with deals at discounted price. All information about reward points program and cardholder-only deals are available on their websites, so anyone who dig deeper into all his/her issuing banks’ websites could get abundant nice deals. Given the mixed results of bank website construction – don’t expect banks’ outsourcer takes a hint to some of the fancy concepts that are popular among web designers like user experience, information architecture, Don’t Make Me(or User) Think and so forth – here comes the problem, who’s willing to do that? And is there any solution that is more convenient and less painful?
To serial entrepreneur Cui Tao, the answer is yes. He and his new project Kayohui is coming to the rescue.
Cardholder’s City Guide
Get started since last year with a team of about ten, Cui’s Kayohui is aiming to become the Schweizer Messer for credit card holders. Kayohui which is already available in Apple’s App Store and Google Play offers user with location-based special deals that are just one tap away as well as many other features that can help make their life much easier and happier.
Firing up the app, you’ll see a collection of brands fall under different categories like restaurant, shopping and traveling, click on the brand’s logo such as Starbucks or Little Sheep (a famous Chinese hot pot franchise which just got acquired by Yum, owner of KFC and Pizza Hut), you’ll see the latest deals from this brand offered by different issuers. For example, Starbucks is now giving Shanghai Pudong Development Bank credit card users free upsize. Good to know. But if you’re using China Mingsheng Bank credit card, then you’re lucky cause you can buy one and get one for free.
Those are the beneficials cardholders deserve to enjoy, but according to Cui, deals like these are commonly being ignored because of too much hassle to get access to them.
The brands collection on the first page looks good, but it seems to me that one thing missing is the feature to filter the deals according to which card I’m using.
Another interesting feature, is the utilization of LBS to help people find the best deals around. You can use the app to locate the deals near you, which is very useful if you’re in the street holding your credit card in one hand and smartphone in the other. Still, a little filtering would make this even better by singling out only the deals one is entitled to.
The app also integrates the banks’ reward points program to help user find out what they are eligible to redeem. It will also index installment offers from the banks in the future.
Besides, users can directly apply for credit cards with the app, which is one of the potential revenue sources for the Beijing-based app developer.
However, feeding users with best deals is just one small step towards the right direction, in long term, Kayohui will launch its own reward points program through which users can translate their bank points into the Kayohui points, by doing so one can redeem more valuable gifts and services provided by Kayohui. It might be attractive to users as long as they’ll have access to something really nice, and it also bodes well for the banks since the move could help them consume reward points and points piling up will make their financial reports less appealing to shareholders.
You can download the iOS version or Android app to try it out. Link below: