Credit cards are a lucrative industry, and with nearly 40 billion credit card transactions in the US last year, the trend is not expected to stop. Even with economists predicting an overdue economic downturn, volume is still projected to remain high. A credit card program is a great way to keep members engaged with your products and services, and a rewards program can certainly boost its popularity. You may have cards issued and people using the program, but is the program benefiting both the member and the CU? Here are five best practices for every credit card program in a credit union to help ensure it is running well while offering benefits for members and the CU as a whole:
- Review and Assess Member Spending Trends. We don't always think of ourselves as data analysts, but the amount of user information recorded inherently in banking gives us an amazing resource. Depending on your membership, you will see seasonal and date-driven peaks and valleys in spending, when reviewed annually. These peak times are when you should be marketing the credit card because you know it's a time members are spending.
- Know When It's Time to Say Goodbye. Just because a member has your credit card, doesn't mean they should get to keep it. You are paying your processor for each of these cards and if the card doesn't get used for a period of time, or the account it's associated with is closed, then it should be cancelled. Also, watch for cards that have not yet been activated after a long period of time as they represent a security risk.
- Make the Experience Rewarding, Literally. Everyone likes rewards. We like special consideration, points, gold stars and we like them even more when we get them for doing something we were already doing. A great loyalty program that rewards its members is a great draw to a credit card program. It gives your members a goal to aim for (more points) and builds a positive relationship of loyalty to the CU.
- Keep the Program in the Mind's Eye. Make sure your members know about the program and all the great stuff that comes with it. Marketing your program anywhere the member engages with the CU, like the ATM welcome screen, makes the message slip into their minds. When the need surfaces that they need a credit card, they'll think of you. Apply the same to your MSRs with seasonal buttons they can wear encouraging members to "Ask Me How to Get Points!".
- Shake What Your Mama, er.... Core Processor Gave You. You have a powerful resource in your core processor provider. Fraud management and security services are going be highly regarded by members. Call center support or marketing content may be on the table. You already have a relationship with your provider, and a significant investment, be sure you can take advantage of all the features available to you.
A thoughtfully run credit card program that learns the needs of its members and rewards spending behavior effectively can be a boon to your CU and set you apart from the other credit card providers in the area. Credit cards + the CU Difference = A Winning Formula.