According to the 2007 edition of the ATM & Debit News EFT Data Book, people are pulling out their debit cards more often. In 2006, debit card usage surpassed credit card usage for the first time. Cardholders are on mark to conduct 26.6 billion transactions at the point-of-sale this year while credit card transactions are projected to be 24.4 billion.
POS vs ATM
Monthly Pin-Based Transactions
|Source: ATM&Debit News EFT Data Book Sept 2006
|March data, in Millions, after eliminating duplication from gateway transactions
Debit card usage at point-of-sale locations grew nearly 23% between March 2005 and 2006 while pin-based transactions at ATMs, the traditional primary point-of-use, actually declined 4% during the same period, further emphasizing the trend that consumers are increasingly using debit to pay for their lattes as well as to get cash.
What Does it Mean for Credit Unions?
With debit card usage continuing to rise, members’ choice of their primary financial institution (PFI) becomes more important. Credit unions that are able to secure, and reinforce, this status will realize greater transaction volume and higher interchange income from members who utilize debit cards.
A case-in-point is Wings Financial Federal Credit Union ($1.6 Billion in Apple Valley, Minnesota) that already generates 29% of its non-interest income from debit card interchange due to high debit card usage among its members, compared to 16% from credit cards. Despite this already high number, to solidify its position as the PFI for their members the credit union, with 75% checking account penetration, is rolling out a cash-back debit rewards program for its members in 2007.
“We see debit cards replacing cash and checks” says Timothy Keegan, EVP/CFO for Wings Financial, “and since checking accounts are critical for member relationships, offering debit cards will allow us to serve our members better. We see this as an opportunity to give back.”
In an era of tight margins and slowing member growth, the ability to generate member-friendly non-interest income from sources such as this and maintain existing member relationships’ is critical to credit unions’ business model.
To learn how credit unions are getting their cards in their members’ wallets, join your peers on for our webinar on “Strategies for Driving Debit Card Usage,” brought to you by Callahan & Associates and sponsored by PSCU Financial Services.