"Overall, the migration towards rewards cards and a substitution of rewards card spending for non-rewards card spending suggests that credit card customers are savvier about their card usage habits," states the "ABA Credit Card Market Monitor--Special Study."
The report identified four major trends:
Reward cards make up an increasing share of new accounts, making up more than half of new account since 2012. In particular, cash/points/ miles cards are the most popular choice among rewards cards. They represent nearly 40 percent of new card volume. Combined, all rewards cards make up nearly 80 percent of new account volume.
Rewards cards are not limited to applicants with high credit scores. They are available to, and used heavily by, all consumer categories--including subprime customers.
Compared to pre-recession levels, the subprime rewards card market has grown dramatically. Since 2010, rewards cards' share of new account volume has more than doubled. This trend has been driven by the rising popularity of cash/points/ miles cards, which now make up 39 percent of new subprime accounts compared to just 14 percent in 2007.