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Recent consumer research suggests that credit card and bank account affiliate programs are thriving, despite the economic uncertainties affecting trends in some consumer product categories. With millions of Americans and Canadians actively searching for cards and accounts that better fit their needs, there are substantial business opportunities in this sector.

Key Takeaways

  • The uncertain economy and rapid interest rate hikes have sparked an unprecedented level of consumer interest in changing cards and bank accounts in 2023.
  • In the US, a staggering 68% report searching for a new credit card in 2023. In Canada, the figure is also very high, at 50%.
  • Among would-be switchers, the most valued product features relate to savings and cash back rather than less tangible rewards and prestige.
  • Complimentary access to the full studies is now available for Martech Record readers. (US) (Canada


The Rakuten team has just published the results of two major consumer behavior and preferences surveys. Complimentary access to the 2023 Financial Affiliate and Consumer Trends Reports for the United States and Canada is now available for Martech Record readers.


The surveys showed that while behavior differs for the US and Canada in some ways, the common denominator is a heightened consumer urgency to search for new financial products that offer more favorable interest rates and perks programs. Here’s a capsule summary of how consumer behavior changed and how intelligent brands can capitalize on this immediate growth opportunity.


US Highlights: Millions of Consumers Searching for Better Cards Right Now


Given the Fed’s rapid increases in interest rates charged to banks, these rate adjustments have an immediate impact on consumer credit costs. That is sparking consumers to act. The survey of 15,000 American consumers showed that tens of millions are actively searching for financial services products in 2023.

  • 68% of those surveyed said they are actively seeking a new credit card or bank account. That proportion is 79% higher than those who reported they had researched cards in 2022. This creates enormous business opportunities for banks and card issuers who aggressively promote in the affiliate channel.

  • The most frequent credit card researchers said better interest rates and sign-up bonuses topped their wants lists. Concerns about climbing interest rates and the global return to the skies and roads after the pandemic appear to be boosting interest in these features. 


Rakuten Advertising also asked consumers why they were interested in switching cards and their reward-type preferences. The “heat map” below shows the most compelling combinations for consumers. In 2023, the headline is that cash benefits speak loudest. 


The research also took a deep dive into the travel card space to understand the most valued rewards and card member benefits. Respondents listed Hotel points as the most popular reward benefit (32%), with Gas and Airfare the runners-up at 27% and 26%. On the card benefits side, Health emergency insurance was most valued (38%), with trip delay/cancellation coming in second at 32%.


On the banking front, the survey asked respondents what are the most important benefits when selecting a bank. Good customer service came in tops at 49%, and a robust mobile app second at 44%. But low monthly fees also ranked high among customer concerns, with 40% rating them as essential. 


Canadian Highlights: Millions Evaluating Credit and Investment Products Right Now


As with the US results, the survey of 500 Canadians pointed to large numbers of consumers searching for new credit cards. 50% reported looking for a new credit card or bank account this year. But Canadians were also researching new investment channels and platforms. One-third said they were investigating cryptocurrencies. Additionally, 33% reported looking for new trading and investment platforms.


An impressive 40% of Canadians said they were likely or considering switching banks in 2023. Of those, 57% were willing to consider a branchless, online-only bank. The figures above point to significant growth opportunities for financial institutions looking to acquire new customers during this year of customer volatility. It also suggests that financial institutions must proactively look for ways to keep their customers in the fold. 


For marketing credit cards to Canadians, the survey revealed that the most compelling rewards varied by publisher type.

For Canadians, low monthly fees are the number one benefit sought from a bank (30%), followed by good customer service (15%) and a high-yield savings account (11%).  These figures reveal an even greater focus on low costs and high savings interest than for Americans. Given this intense focus on value, increased investment in the affiliate channel is a prudent growth strategy. 


Regarding travel credit cards, Canadians showed the strongest interest in earning airfare points (65%) versus Americans, who ranked hotel points highest. Canadians rated trip delay and cancellation insurance benefits as the most valuable card perk (39%), whereas Americans ranked emergency health insurance benefits most important.

Outstanding Business Opportunities Revealed


Having such large numbers of customers looking for new credit cards and bank accounts means unprecedented business opportunities for savvy financial services brands. But getting the right mix of offers, partners, and compliance prote

ctions is critical. Here are three ways you can raise your game and make 2023 your best growth year ever:


Read the complete reports: This article only scratches the surface of the data available in the studies. Visit them 

now on the Rakuten Advertising website:

2023 Financial Affiliate and Consumer Trends Report - US

2023 Financial Affiliate and Consumer Trends Report - Canada

Audit your compliance: You can’t capitalize on these opportunities with an incomplete or inefficient compliance solution. The Rakuten Advertising team would be pleased to talk to you about your existing compliance tools and whether there are better ways to protect your business. Rakuten Advertising views elevating industry compliance as a critical part of their industry mission. 


Consider Rakuten Advertising. Financial services affiliate is fundamentally different from traditional retail programs, requiring industry-leading tech and expert-led service. That’s why they’ve created a financial services center of excellence staffed by industry veterans who know the vertical better than anyone., More than 50 leading financial services brands, including 60% of the top US banks, rely on Rakuten Advertising to drive recruitment, scale, and bulletproof compliance. Why not take a meeting to see what they can do to take your program to the next level? Contact Rakuten Advertising for a free expert consultation

Thanks for learning about this important industry research.


About Rakuten Advertising

Rakuten Advertising delivers performance-driven, brand-driven, and people-driven ad solutions that help the world’s top brands connect with unique, highly engaged audiences – from first impression to final sale. Backed by industry-leading technology, global media properties, and the largest, high-quality partner network, Rakuten Advertising taps into decades of data and experience to develop the strategies and ad experiences that will drive engagement, sales, loyalty, and beyond. A leader in the industry since its beginnings, Rakuten Advertising is a division of Rakuten Group, Inc. (4755: TOKYO), one of the world’s leading internet service companies. The company is headquartered in San Mateo, California, with offices throughout EMEA, APAC, LATAM, and North America. Learn more at