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The roles and importance of credit cards nowadays are clearly significant. The credit card
users can spend future’s money today. It allows the users to be flexible and increases ability
to spend for shoppers. In addition, installment plan gives more times for paying back the
amounts used in later periods. There are no barriers for the users to spend in any currency
since shops and stores only concern whether the cards are visa or master cards, usable
worldwide. The purpose of the study is to explore factors affecting the adoption of credit
cards of Thai consumers. There are different types of credit cards available, categorizing by
issuers such as banks and non-banks. In this study, the focus is only on bank credit cards.

Bank credit card is one of today's most ubiquitous financial instruments (Wolters, 2000). For
bank management perspectives, identifying the appropriate market for the credit card,
interpreting consumers’ needs for the product and developing business strategies are crucial
to cope with fierce competition in the credit card market. In addition, Bernthal, Crockett, and
Rose(2005) indicated that credit cards came with important technology to help facilitate
several financial transactions for consumers, but the cards have capacity to support
consumers in their everyday life activities without much concerning about cash in hands.
Brito and Hartley (1995) observed that another important service on credit card was about
borrowing on credit cards. However, such borrowing came with high interest rates which
might appear irrational, but low transactions costs can make credit cards attractive relative to
bank loans. In addition, credit cards offer liquidity services by helping consumers to avoid
some of the opportunity costs of holding money. Goyal (2004) stated that service products,
such as credit cards, being intangible and experiential in nature are different to evaluate prior
to purchase and consumption. Information regarding supplementary services can help
consumers make pre-purchase evaluation of credit cards. In addition to pre-purchase
evaluation, the impact of supplementary services is studied towards post-purchase evaluation
of credit card services.

Cargill and Wendel(1996) answered the question about the way credit cardholders using their
credit cards and found that consumers are rational with respect to credit card usage.
Understanding card usage rationality assists credit card issuers to formulate strategy to cope
with competition and to provide better services for consumers. Moreover, d'Astous and
Miquelon (1991) stated that for credit card users, choosing a suitable credit card requires a
knowledge of one's credit card usage and comparison information on credit card costs.
Chebat, Laroche, and Malette(1988) conducted the credit card research on English-speaking
and French-speaking Canadians in Toronto and Montreal, focusing on their attitudes toward
credit cards. Both groups are satisfied with benefits from using credit cards, improving their
financial situations. In addition, the English group was concerned about costs, accuracy,
safety, practicality, and facilitation, while the French group is concerned about costs,
accuracy, overconsuming, and overspending. As for the impact of customer characteristics,
income and education positively affect usage.

Stanghellini (2003) investigated that finance agencies, including banks, have started to
develop new products aiming not only to increase their portfolio but also to maintain good
relationships with existing customers and to prevent undesired behaviors of high-default risk
customers. This suggests that understanding the behaviors of the customers is significant for
financial operations, because the customers can be either profitable or unprofitable. Devlin,
Worthington, and Gerrard (2007) the results suggest that credit card providers should always
keep in mind about whether the discounts they offer, the promotions they arrange and their
loyalty schemes are superior to those offered by competitors. Being responsive to
competition is also an important key to succeed.

Several researchers conducted consumer behaviors and the role of credit cards. Lunt (1992)
stated that it is important for banks offering credit card services to study what makes
consumers who have 5 or 6 credit cards use one rather than another when making a purchase
to determine marketing techniques. Among many factors affecting card adoption include
high credit limit, quality customer service, fair fees, and a fair interest rate are the factors that
count at the point of sale. In addition, lower interest rates, cash advance checks with low
rates, and sweepstakes are some of the marketing promotions used by banks. Some other
promotions were cashback bonuses and no annual fee. Moreover, Sulaiti, Ahmed, and
Beldona (2006) studied the role of credit card on consumer behavior and found that credit
card usage by consumers across the oil-rich Arab countries (such as Qatar, Bahrain, and
Kuwait) is changing in their consumption behavior, because having credit card motivates
Arab consumers to buy more often, and encourage promoting impulse buying. Carow and
Staten(2002) found that convenience and rebates are the main reasons for using a bank credit

Furthermore, Hayhoe, Leach, Turner, Bruin, and Lawrence(2000) found that affective credit
attitude (feeling about using credit cards) and gender influenced college students' credit
purchasing. Affective credit attitude predicted the purchase of clothing, electronics,
entertainment, travel, gasoline, and food away from home. Their results also indicated that
gender differences in the relationship between financial practices, financial stress, affective
credit attitude and the number of credit cards with a balance. Lee and Kwon (2002) found
that consumers' usage of store credit cards is related to a number of variables, including the
use of bank cards, credit history, attitude toward credit, income, education, and ethnicity. It is
important for banks to develop marketing strategies to attract and win competition in the
industry. Devlin, Worthington, and Gerrard (2007) examined credit cardholders carrying
many credit cards at the same time. In this case, there were main credit cards (most often
used cards) and subsidiary cards (rarely used cards) and the respondents stated that their
subsidiary cards were held for "stand-by purposes". Bielski (2001) suggested that
development of loyalty programs and e-commerce programs that all add to a high quality
customer experience for credit card business. Moreover, those programs can attract and retain
credit card users.

Rationale for using e mail survey

According to a study by Suthawan Chirapanda and Chanin Yoopetch from the School of
Business, University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thailand, 32.5 % of credit card user
in Bangkok is those aged from 26-35, thus proving that these are young, relevant group of
new starter worker that use email as means of telecommunication, besides SMS and calls.
The data of 206 credit cardholders were collected in Bangkok metropolitan areas for the

Table 1: Customer Characteristics in Percentage

Customer Characteristics Percentage (%)

Gender Male 54.4
Female 45.6
Age (Years) 21-25 13.1
26-30 32.5
31-35 28.6
36-40 17.0
41-45 2.4
46 or more 6.3
Marital Status Single 57.3
Married 36.4
Divorced 6.3
Education Below Bachelor’s Degree 6.3
Bachelor’s Degree 77.2
Higher than Bachelor’s degree 16.5
Income (Baht) 20,000 or less 29.6
20,001 – 40,000 40.3
40,001 – 60,000 20.9
60,000 or more 9.2

The respondents of this study were 54.4% male and 45.6% female. 61.1% of the respondents
were the age between 26 – 35 years old. Most of them (57.3%) were single. The majority
held Bachelor’s Degree (77.2%) with the monthly income ranging from 20,001 to 40,000

This study indicated that to satisfy credit cardholders’ needs, low annual fees and domestic
and worldwide credit card acceptance were highly necessary. However, in order to offer
different services from competitors and to build long-term customer loyalty, bank marketers
can initiate a marketing campaign with attractive installment plan choices and point
redemption. Additionally, making credit cards to be more widely used in more domestic
stores can increase credit card adoption. This requires collaboration among banks and other
businesses to share higher benefits from greater numbers of card users. For installment plan,
longer installment period should be provided for allowing customers to pay back in longer
term with lower amount of payment, while banks can have higher profit from interest
charges. Moreover, various interest rates on installment plan can be offered. For example, the
customer may be able to choose the fixed interest rates or flexible interest rate on each plan.
In addition, many installment plans can be developed innovatively to attract more customers
in response to their diverse needs.

Bank marketers can apply more creative point collection campaigns to encourage higher card
usage. Carow and Staten(2002) also suggested that the collaboration between banks and other
businesses, such as gasoline companies, can contribute to benefits for both parties and their
research results help explain the growth in popularity of "co-branded" cards. Therefore, the
marketers can offer point redemption methods in more convenient ways through channels,
such as telephone, internet, point-of-sales, and ATMs. Moreover, banks should have a co-
branded program with businesses, including retailers, dining and restaurants, gas companies,
hotels, airlines, transportations, shopping malls, and hospitals.

Credit card issuers should also build interorganizational network among business partners in
various industries in order to enhance card acceptance in many domestic areas in the country.
Despite high competitive credit card market, banks with stronger interorganizational
relationship can survive and succeed in the market.

In summary, credit card marketing campaigns discussed above need to concentrate the
customer profile. This implies that products and services for redemption, more places
accepting credit cards and flexible installment plans must match demands and expectations of
the target group.
The questions asked in the e mail survey and application of the principles of good
questionnaire design