Unbound from desk work, I finally attended an afternoon press event for the unveiling of Security Bank’s newest credit card offering at The Island at the Palace in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig last week and followed the invitation instructions to come in resort wear, or at least in what in my book is equivalent to resort wear.

Since my age demographic does not have much of a night life, I was curious to finally see The Island, which, just a season ago, seemed like the favorite hangout of the Gen Z crowd.

Apparently, The Island’s main draw is a dipping pool where bold and adventurous guests can hang out and party, thus the reason for the resort wear and to match the launch of Security Bank’s latest credit card offering of the Wave Mastercard.

True enough, the main graphic design visual is that of a female surfer riding a wave. However, the message of Security Bank’s marketing campaign is an intentional play on words – the Security Bank Wave Mastercard waves goodbye to annual fees, restrictive interest rates, and unsustainable materials.

According to Nikki Lizares, senior assistant vice president and sustainability head of Security Bank, their Wave Mastercard is their first credit card that is made out of 100 percent recycled PVCs or plastic bottle caps.

For now, the recycled credit cards are made in China, but Security Bank is talking to other suppliers who can manufacture the cards from recycled PVC as there is a growing market in the Philippines.

Security Bank, Lizares added, is looking for ways to partner with suppliers that use recycled materials and offer more sustainable solutions for the bank to lessen its carbon footprint. These include using renewable energy such as solar panels that they intend to use in some of their branches.

No annual fees, lower interest rate

The main come-on of the Wave Mastercard, however, according to Chris Quiros, first vice president and unsecured lending head of Security Bank, is no annual fees, one percent cashback on online transactions (but limited to P3,000 cashback annually with a minimum spend of P1,000 spend required for the cashback), and a lower interest rate of 2.5 percent for card transactions.

The Wave Mastercard, Chris explains, targets the younger generation that is just starting to join the workforce, and prefer to do most of their transactions online. As such, application for the card must be done online and all records are electronic, meaning no paper bills.

Security Bank, Chris said, projects to issue for this year around 5,000 to 8,000 cards only.

The Wave Mastercard is in addition to the bank’s World and Platinum cards for high net worth individuals. Those with existing cards, Chris pointed out, can also avail of the Wave Mastercard for their purely online transactions and can even get up to five supplementary cards for their family members.

Star endorsers

Of course, a product launch is not complete without star endorsers. And to bring that much needed spotlight, the bank’s brand ambassadors, sister and brother influencers Solenn and Erwan Heusaff provided the much needed wattage for the bank’s launch.

Security Bank president and CEO Sanjiv Vohra with Solenn and Erwan Heusaff.

Unfortunately, The Island, it turns out, relies on natural ventilation and huge air fans to cool it on a slightly muggy mid-afternoon, so, if one is not about to step down into the dipping pool in his or her resort wear, the best option is to hightail it out of the island-themed setting and write about the launch in a much cooler and air conditioned venue.

A Visa brunch

Mastercard’s competitor, Visa, on the other hand, also invited business reporters to a brunch last week, not for a product launch, but to meet and chat with Joyce England, its communication head responsible for the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos.

Thankfully, the venue was air-conditioned and the conversation was light as Joyce’s purpose was to get to know her area of responsibility, being on the job for just a couple of months and not quite ready to answer or talk about data and figures. The conversation, thus, covered a wide range of topics, including non-banking matters and even K-dramas.

Too bad Visa Philippine country manager Jeff Navarro did not join the chat with Joyce to allow reporters to garner some insight on how Visa’s credit card business in the Philippines is doing, maybe next time.

2024-02-11T16:33:51Z dg43tfdfdgfd