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JPMorgan Plots to Revive Credit Card Business

Stocks in this article: JPM

Chase Sapphire and its sister card Chase Sapphire Preferred offer affluent consumers premium travel services, and a wide variety of accessible rewards through the company's Ultimate Reward program and round-the-clock customer service representatives. JPMorgan didn't disclose how much these customers typically spend on the cards, but said in a press release that those who spend $50,000 a year on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card will get 10,000 reward bonus points, so they're aiming high.

A JPMorgan spokesman said the company views the affluent market as having an annual household income of $125,000 or more, and that generally, these consumers represent about 45% of all credit-card spending.

In September, the company launched its Ink product series, targeted to small business owners, who still primarily use cash and checks to pay for business expenses. Instead, JPMorgan wants this segment to put those expenses on a card. The cards offer business owners spending rewards, online expense management tools, the option for additional cards for employees, and customizable payment terms, as well as other features. One of the four Ink card options is for a pay-in-full charge card.

Chase has also created a financial management tool called Blueprint to help credit card customers manage their finances and payments more accurately. It is available for both the Sapphire and Ink card series as well as the Chase Freedom and Slate series of cards.

"The way we're going to make money is to become the primary vehicle to meet a customer's spending and borrowing needs," Chase Card CEO Smith says. "It's a business of very small margins. You have to run volume through the system. When a customer uses your card as their primary card for spending, there are good economics in it for us and a great value proposition for the customer."

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