New Research Finds Consumer Prefer to Pay With Points

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Engage People, a loyalty network that enables program members to pay with points directly at checkout, commissioned a new survey from The Wise Marketer titled “Paying with Points – “Tomorrow” Is Too Late“. The report examines consumer perspectives on using loyalty currency for redemption online and in stores to realize immediate value.

Conducted among 1,000 U.S.-based consumers in October 2023, the survey found a strong appeal for Pay with Points (PwP) as a redemption option, with 84% of consumers reporting they would use this loyalty currency in the future if offered. That’s up from 80% of respondents who said they would be likely to use pay with points if available in The Wise Marketer’s 2022 Rewards Redemption Survey: US Consumer Attitudes and Preferences, Engage People states.

Continued Demand for Rewards Programs

In addition, 76% of consumers expressed a willingness to change credit cards to access improved PwP benefits, according to Engage People. This inclination is particularly notable among those with retail cards, showing a stronger desire to change cards for the perks of PwP compared to bank cardholders.

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“This year’s findings underscore continued growth in demand from consumers for reward programs that offer the ability to pay with points, and a strong interest in utilizing reward points for essential, every-day expenses like groceries, online shopping, fast food, and gas,” says Len Covello, CTO of Engage People, in a news release. “Retailers have a unique opportunity to enhance their loyalty programs by customizing them to include better redemption options through point accumulation, and meet the evolving preferences and needs of their customer base.”

PwP Helps Consumers Save Money

The Wise Marketer survey also found that the primary motivation for using PwP is to save money and combat inflation by reducing purchase expenses, Engage People states. When indicating preferred redemption locations, respondents mainly selected grocery stores (62%), online retail (56%), gas stations or convenience stores (52%) and fast-food restaurants (45%) for utilizing their loyalty points.

Roughly 37% of respondents reported having used PwP one or more times, while 43% were either aware of PwP but had yet to encounter it or were unfamiliar with it as a payment choice. This presents a notable opportunity for banks, retailers and their partners to leverage the growing demand for PwP in their loyalty and rewards programs, particularly in key redemption locations, according to Engage People.

Mike Capizzi, Dean of The Loyalty Academy and who led the research, says in the release, “Pay with Points is a format that over the past few years has marked a significant shift in the way customers interact with loyalty programs and payment options. PwP represents a convergence of reward systems and transactional processes, offering customers a novel and potentially appealing way to utilize their accumulated loyalty points directly at the point of sale.”