Financial Services Loyalty Programs: A Comprehensive Guide

See how financial services loyalty programs help banks and insurance companies be on top of the list when customers are looking for the best deals.

The cover image of Antavo's Financial Services Loyalty Programs Guide

Financial services organizations are standing on the doorstep of a new era. Firstly, digital disruptors such as FinTech have demonstrated the power of online presence. This made the industry realize that digitalization is no longer an advantage, but a must-have.

Secondly, customers are becoming more conscious of service quality. They might stick to a familiar provider for the time being, but if their demand for a more personalized, relevant treatment goes unanswered, customers might switch to competitors with a better customer retention strategy.

One way to strengthen the bond with your audience is by introducing a loyalty program that is geared towards the challenges faced by banks and financial services companies. A next-gen customer retention tool can foster long-lasting trust, shield customers from the competition, and even boost your digitalization efforts.

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Key Takeaways – TL; DR

  • Financial services loyalty programs are geared toward educating customers and encouraging behaviors such as frequent credit card usage
  • Companies in this industry have fewer opportunities to interact with their loyal audience
  • Being omnichannel in this vertical is more important than ever
  • Recommended solutions include reward sharing, partner rewards, mobile passes and incentivized content consumption
  • We gathered seven loyalty program examples for inspiration

If you wish to learn more about loyalty program trends in general, as well as how reward programs can be revenue centers, download our Global Customer Loyalty Report 2024.

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What Is a Financial Services Loyalty Program?

Financial services loyalty programs are customer retention tools aiming to increase brand love and purchase frequency for banks and insurance companies. They are defined by an array of unique features that sets them apart from other, more traditional reward systems: 

  • Because customers don’t purchase products in a traditional sense, financial and bank loyalty programs instead incentivize members to spend money using their credit card or highlight service packages, such as loans or mortgages. 
  • Because of their unique nature, enrollment to financial loyalty programs is limited. In order to become a member, people need to have an active account, otherwise they won’t be able to progress. 
  • Companies in this industry have fewer opportunities to interact with their loyal audience. Customers generally only turn to them when it’s time to renew a contract. That’s why creating new touchpoints is a priority in loyalty programs.
  • Lastly, financial and bank rewards programs are often used to promote content, educate members about current offers, and extend the brand’s online presence.

A bank that shows customers they are valued individuals will have more success in building long-term relationships. Customers are encouraged to maintain and consolidate business with firms they feel ‘know them’, so personalized experiences are key to showing them you understand their individual needs. Loyalty programs are an effective way to prove this, allowing banks to build up stored value and give it back to the client as a tangible, relevant benefit.

Balazs Fejes

EVP and Co-Head of Global Business at EPAM

Biggest Challenges to Customer Retention in Financial Services

The reason customer retention in financial services is a pain point for many companies in the industry is that their attention is divided between multiple pressing challenges: 

  1. Digital presence is more important than ever
    In order to speed up the process of digital transformation, companies require a tool that incentivizes online interactions.
  2. Highly competitive environment
    Without a solid customer retention tool, it is easy for customers to switch to a competitor that is offering more attractive deals.
  3. Lack of relevance
    Customers aren’t interested in loyalty programs that don’t add value to their lives consistently, even after key transactions are made.

However, a loyalty program could help solve all three issues at once. What’s important to note is that customers don’t value loyalty programs that fail to pay attention to their attitudes, behaviors and expectations. The solution isn’t to challenge the concept of loyalty, but to reinvent it. 

Loyalty in the banking and financial services sector should be about emotional engagement, using a next-gen loyalty program. By creating new touchpoints that engage customers outside of the buying cycle—meaning they can earn benefits without paying—companies can show that they care about their customers and want to learn more about them.

Banks are having a tough time with differentiation these days. Challenger Banks, FinTech and BigTech have stolen the show on digital, and only with massive investments and spin-offs has the traditional digital bank concept taken hold. A customer focused loyalty play is one of the best areas to increase the value of the bank to the customer and take the relationship to the next level, strengthening the digital image of the bank.

Mark Hetenyi

Founder and CEO at R34DY

Best Loyalty Program Features for Financial Services 

With the most important goals defined, it’s time to explore all the features that modern loyalty programs offer to help banks and insurance companies stand out and garner customer trust.

1. Loyalty Logic for Financial Services

  • Account-based membership & rewarding renewals
    Only allow active, registered customers to benefit from your readily available perks and rewards. Financial services loyalty programs can restrict access to current account owners only. Furthermore, you can encourage account renewals or upgrades with specific loyalty rewards that are otherwise unavailable to other members, thus using FOMO and exclusivity to your advantage.
  • Customizable loyalty program types
    Set up a loyalty strategy that best suits your brand’s offerings. If you wish to encourage credit card usage, consider offering points based on net purchases made with the card. If you’re more service-oriented, you can introduce tiers based on members’ account balances. And if your aim is to increase enrollment rates and build advocacy, a perk system with instant benefits is the best choice.
An infographic showing the logic behind hybrid loyalty programs.
Hybrid loyalty programs in particular are effective when it comes to driving multiple different KPIs.
  • Omnichannel
    Customers expect unhindered customer service on all channels. Whether they wish to bank online from the comfort of their couch, make an investment while on the go, or visit a physical office, they want a quick, smooth and, above all else, a flawless experience. Top it all off with an omnichannel loyalty program that ensures customers can earn points or redeem rewards by doing all of these activities.
  • Insurance: Reward healthy lifestyle
    Engage customers outside of the buying cycle: reward customers through app integrations for pursuing a healthy lifestyle. For instance, using a Fitbit integration allows you to track a member’s workout progress. Incorporating this to your insurance program gives people an incentive to stay healthy. As a reward for reaching certain workout milestones, you can offer better insurance deals or give unique gifts from a partner.

The challenge is to run the core services customers expect regardless of difficult times, like pandemics. They should ensure companies provide stability and retain trust during the incredibly uncertain and stressful times, so people don’t get stressed over by not being able to access their money or start worrying because their payment is delayed. Loyalty can deepen the relationship, make it personal and reassure people their banking is one thing they don’t have to worry about right now!

Will Sargeant

Chief of Client Partnerships and Strategy at AND Digital

2. An Experiential Reward System

  • A rich reward catalog with incentives from partners
    Offer a variety of incentives to cast the widest net possible for your audience. Give cashback and direct cash rewards for discount-oriented customers. Reduce loans or mortgages for high-tier members, rewarding them for being a long-standing customer. Provide interest rate boosters that can be redeemed for points. Also, consider offering physical gifts or travel benefits from partners.
  • Offer management
    One way to keep the loyalty experience fresh and exciting is to introduce new offers and deals from time to time, giving people a reason to log back in, just to see if there’s anything new. With an enterprise-grade offer management tool such as Antavo’s, marketers can effortlessly set up hot deals, including bonus points for using selected cards, or double points campaigns for purchases made on Black Friday.


Offer management should be more than just the rewards.
Offer management should be more than just the rewards. The tool itself should aim to make the marketers’ and CRM executives’ lives easier. 
  • Reward sharing
    Build a community around your brand by allowing customers to form groups, interact with each other, and work towards a shared goal. For instance, set up a cashback reward with a high redemption margin and encourage members to pour their points into a shared pool. Once they hit their milestone, all participants earn a reward. The same can be done with charity events, where members can gift a reward to those who cannot afford it.
  • The Mobile Wallet as a digital loyalty card
    A Mobile Wallet is where people store their loyalty cards, reward coupons and event passes, which can be used for easy enrollment and reward redemption. In this next step toward digitalization, mobile passes are stored on people’s phones, which they always bring themselves, unlike physical cards. Also, the Mobile Wallet enables you to automatically send push notifications while customers are waiting at a branch or office, feeding them useful content or promotion.
Learn more about the capabilities of Mobile Wallet from Antavo’s video.

3. Features to Engage Customers Outside of the Buying Cycle

  • Free membership bonuses
    It’s also an option to make certain rewards available for every member based on their points or status, such as priority credit services, a fast lane at banks, zero-fee banking services, welcome gifts for new members, bonus points for newsletter signups, etc. Doing so builds customer goodwill, not to mention customers are less likely to leave for a competitor, as it would mean giving up these benefits.
Friend referrals are another non-transactional way to reward customers for completing valuable actions.
Friend referrals are another non-transactional way to reward customers for completing valuable actions. Antavo supports direct sharing to Facebook and Twitter, plus, members can copy and paste their referral link manually. See the value of customers referred by each member on the Antavo Loyalty Platform.
  • Exclusive clubs
    If you don’t want to make rewards, such as priority credit service or fast lanes, available for all members, set up a VIP club within the program. Only customers who pay a significant entry fee in points will become insiders, guaranteeing that only a small group of highly dedicated members will be entitled to high-end rewards.
  • Sweepstakes
    Create buzz around your brand with Instagram contests and sweepstakes, spreading positive word-of-mouth about your brand. This is a cost-effective reward campaign, considering participation is free, but only one of the contestants is eligible for the reward. In sweepstakes and lotteries, each attempt can cost a small sum of points, and you can limit the number of attempts per day.

The biggest risks are genuinely cost-cuts usually associated with a crisis. Financial Institutions are having to rebuild trust with their customers, product offerings, and demonstrate a clear guideline on steps to recovery. The essential key is inconsistent communication – providing the reassurance needed to maintain a steady but reliable relationship with consumers. Realigning your loyalty offer strategy to meet new consumer spend patterns, will not only unlock experiences that cater to adaptation but enhances the journey in which drives emotional and psychological behavior. A brand’s responsiveness to customer behavior benefits the lifecycle and continued success.

Te Baker

Loyalty Product Manager at Discover Financial Services

  • Content consumption
    Encourage loyalty members to watch a webinar or participate in online workshops. Members can be rewarded with points or special one-time benefits for consuming the content. Consider using a questionnaire or quiz to check whether customers were paying attention before submitting the reward.
As part of your financial services loyalty program encourage members to watch a webinar.
Using Antavo’s system, just copy & paste the URL of the selected content types, then turn on the additional quiz option, where you can upload questions and answers related to each piece of content.

7 Rewards Programs Examples from Banks

Bank loyalty programs offer the ability to both reward and incentivize customers. As loyalty programs in this industry are very competitive, banks should look to loyalty mechanisms that create lifelong relationships with customers. An effective bank loyalty program will help you promote customer satisfaction, offer existing customers better value for the similar products, brand awareness and reduce customer churn as well. Here are some of the best bank rewards programs to inspire you:

1. Citibank – Citi ThankYou

Citibank is an American multinational investment bank and financial services corporation headquartered in New York. The company’s loyalty program really shows the capabilities of loyalty programs in this sector:

  • Enrollment requires a Citi credit card, and 1 point is earned with each $1 spent using the card
  • 10% points back on all redemption options for the first 100,000 points
  • Customers can buy 1,000 points for $25
  • Earned points can be transferred to another member’s account
  • Points can be used for travel rewards, gift cards, cash rewards, mortgage or student loan payments, and even charity donation
Citibanky’s loyalty program really shows the capabilities of financial services loyalty programs.
The fact that Citi points can be used at partners such as Amazon, Paypal, Expedia and BestBuy motivates customers to earn them whenever they have the chance, further increasing the value and relevance of the program.

2. Bank of America – Preferred Rewards

The Bank of America is an American multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in Charlotte, with central hubs all across the world. The company has a tiered bank loyalty program, which offers increased benefits at each rank.

  • The Gold level offers a 5% interest rate booster, 25% bonus on eligible, priority credit service, mortgage reduction, and no fees at select banking services
  • The Platinum level requires a balance of at least $50,000, increases the values of all the existing benefits, provides 12 free ATM transactions per year, and allows members to make free online stock and ETF trades
  • Users with an account balance of $100,000 or more are eligible for the Platinum Honors rank, with even better deals and unlimited free ATM transactions.
Customers can find an interactive slide showcasing the benefits associated with each tier.
Customers can find an interactive slide showcasing the benefits associated with each tier, which comes in handy to explain the rules to new customers.

3. Wells Fargo – Go Far Rewards

Wells Fargo is an American multinational financial services company headquartered in San Francisco. It is the world’s fourth-largest bank by market capitalization and the fourth largest bank in the US by total assets. The company boasts a complex reward-based credit card system:

  • Users earn rewards with net purchases and by using the credit card
  • Each credit card has a different rewards system and benefits
  • There are four reward categories: merchandise, gift cards, travel and online auctions
Offering multiple reward cars is a double-edged sword: on one hand, customers enjoy more freedom.
Offering multiple reward cards is a double-edged sword: on one hand, customers enjoy more freedom. However, the fact that certain benefits are restricted to a specific card may be frustrating for some.

4. Barclays – Blue Rewards

British multinational investment bank and financial services company Barclays created a loyalty program that focuses on cashback offers, but in exchange requires a subscription fee:

  • Up to 10% cashback to Rewards Wallet from over 150 retailers
  • Cashback can be earned on a variety of services, including debit payments, insurance, mortgage, loans, and life insurance
  • Participation costs £4 and requires at least £800 to be paid into the member’s account every month
Barclays operates an insiders-only VIP club, called Blue Rewards Saver.
Barclays operates an insiders-only VIP club, called Blue Rewards Saver, which increases the interest rate on customers’ savings accounts.

5. ICBC – Reward Program

Chinese banking company ICBC offers a simplified loyalty program, with a focus on travel rewards, but the company’s partnership with a large number of agencies makes it a worthwhile choice for customers:

  • The Reward Program offers users 1 point for every HKD/RMB spent with their ICBC credit card
  • Points can be redeemed for a cash discount, cash coupons, air miles (Air China PhoenixMiles, Hong Kong Airlines Fortune Wings Club Miles, China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Club) and charity donations (Caritas – Hong Kong, Yan Oi Tong Charity)
  • Points are valid for one year
Members of ICBC’s Reward programs must fill out a Redemption Form and send it in by mail or fax.

Members of ICBC’s Reward programs must fill out a Redemption Form and send it in by mail or (online) fax—something a next-gen loyalty management platform could easily digitalize.

6. Capital One – Purchase Eraser

Capital One, the American bank holding company, allows their customers the make travel-related purchases with their rewards card, then wipe out the cost of that purchase from their statement using their accrued miles:

  • Customers can earn miles on every purchase everywhere and redeem for all kinds of travel related shopping and enjoy unlimited cash back rewards
  • Points can be redeemed when shopping at or paying with Paypal
  • Rewards don’t expire for the life of the account
Capital One Purchase Eraser rewards
Capital One offers a number of credit cards with wich customers receive different rewards and travel credits.

7. Zions Bank – Pays for A’s

The financial services loyalty program of Zions Bank is dedicated to middle school and high school students. It offers money deposit for each “A” on the student’s report card:

  • In order to participate, students should bring their most recent report card
  • For every “A,” they’ll get $1 deposited into a Young Savers Account
  • Getting paid for an “A” enters the student for the chance to win a scholarship savings account
Zions Bank
The scholarship lottery awards one student with a prize of $1000.

You Can Bank on Customer Loyalty

As you can see, loyalty programs are multifunctional tools that can drive multiple KPIs for financial services. With the right mindset and fitting loyalty technology, advancing in digitalization and standing out from the competition will no longer be a difficult task.

Our team of experts is here for you whenever you’d like to introduce or revamp your own program, just book a demo, or send an RFP.

And don’t forget to download Antavo’s Customer Loyalty Report, an in-depth report that showcases dozens of statistics as well as future industry trends to help you navigate the world of next-gen loyalty programs.

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Headshot of Andy Nemes CSO and Co-founder of Antavo

Andy Nemes

Andy is the CSO and Co-founder of Antavo. He is a natural-born helper who takes the time to understand prospects’ unique business needs and is always ready to pick up the phone. He supports Antavo’s clients in finding a loyalty solution that best fits their business.

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