Developing a new credit card for small businesses

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A Canadian financial services company was considering developing new credit card services for micro and small businesses. Most of the institution’s commercial business is focused on smaller companies (less than 99 employees). A significant opportunity was identified to deepen those relationships by offering a business credit card that better addressed both their retail and small business needs. Previous research had identified that many small business customers tend to merge their business purchases with their personal retail purchases. The client project team had developed two card configurations, design options and several name options for the planned new card. These options needed to be thoroughly evaluated with the target audience so that final adjustments could be made before launch. RESEARCH STRATEGY GROUP was asked to conduct qualitative and quantitative research to assist in the refining of the new card offering.

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The results of the qualitative research allowed us to focus on the issues most important to credit card users and make sure the quantitative survey incorporated these elements. Taken together the two phases of research constituted a valuable set of learnings, helping the client settle on the appropriate fee, and other features. The insights helped the client make final adjustments and fact-based decisions leading in the design and positioning of the new credit card. Valuable feedback on the preferred concept and preferred card names supported final card configuration.


RESEARCH STRATEGY GROUP undertook a two-phase research approach for the project. The qualitative phase was comprised six online focus groups, with key decision makers as well individuals who just used their credit card for business purchases. The objective of this phase was to get a better understanding of how credit cards were used by small business and to better understand the relevance and appeal of the offerings. Initial feedback on possible names for the card was also gathered.

For the quantitative phase, RESEARCH STRATEGY GROUP conducted an online survey with small business customers divided between micro (1-4 employees) and small (5-99 employees) companies. Respondents were decision makers about financial matters and credit cards. The study benchmarked current credit card usage and then focused on a complete evaluation of the new credit card concepts, the proposed names for the card, and gathering feedback on key design elements.

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