The Business Case for Women’s Credit Cards

Untapped Opportunity

This panel recognized the evolution of the financial services industry from not allowing women the right to have credit cards in their own names to developing cards that are just for women. While we have moved on from the original “pink-washed” cards of 20 years ago and more organizations are creating value for women with cards, there is still a great deal of untapped opportunity in the market. This panel explored that opportunity, with panelists from two case institutions with cards tailored to women’s needs making the case that that cards for women can be a profitable proposition when implemented well.

Key Points

  • Mastercard noted that beyond being one of the largest payment technology companies in the world, they have the potential to enable governments to increase financial access and stimulate economies. Mastercard has taken a strong position in championing gender around the world. Their commitment to gender starts at the top – from the executive committee through the DNA of the company itself.
  • Mastercard Consumer Strategy identified women’s needs and wants by sub-segmenting based on women’s life cycles. The sub-segments they found included the working mom, the working single woman, non-working mom and the empty nester. The market research found one common thread across all segments: an entrepreneurial spirit. Education was the top need highlighted by segments across the socio-economic ladder.
  • 25 years ago Mastercard launched their first pink cards, and they still find a need for those cards in some markets. Many of their cards targeted at women have benefits related to shopping, travel and health.
  • Other solutions for women beyond cards are also being developed by Mastercard. These include identity cards in Nigeria that provide retirement benefits or scholarship benefits and have helped to remove middle-men in card services.
  • Banco BHD León was looking for growth opportunities within their credit card business when they mined their data and found women were a huge sub-segment – and a potentially attractive market where there were no other competitors. They found that 38 percent of the profitability of their credit card business already came from women, and there were strong growth prospects.
  • They looked at the specific needs of women and worked to incorporate related solutions into their products. They developed the Mujer Mujer Card, which has a variety of benefits including coverage for the most common types of cancer for women, home repair assistance, roadside assistance and relevant seasonal discounts.
  • BHD León’s business results are impressive. The number of cards issued is growing at an impressive rate, the balances per client are higher for the women’s card (15 percent) as compared to its regular credit cards (10 percent), the default rate is lower (3 percent vs. 6 percent), and yearly profitability is higher as is monthly usage.

Cards 2017 GBA Summit 2


Managing Director, Reservoir Q Global LLC

SVP, Global Wholesale Program; MasterCard
Presentation (members only)

Manager of Women’s Market, Personal and Business Banking; Banco BHD León
Presentation (members only)


We are not a women’s market. We are many women’s markets.
— K. Shelly Porges

We found one common thread through all of our female sub-segments: an entrepreneurial spirit.
— Diana Robino

When we started, we weren’t thinking about a specific card for women, but the data showed us that women represented the most attractive market to target.
— Pura Méndez