Knowledge Means Results In Credit Card Lending

Credit cards are making a slow comeback, and knowing what the consumer wants is one key to success.


Plastic can makes things perfect (when an emergency comes up) or painful (when it becomes a person’s primary funding mechanism). It’s all about how a member manages the card. Financial institutions are upping their card promotions as the economy wobbles along toward the dog days.

According to the Wall Street Journal, 1Q11 saw American financial institutions send out 1.4 billion offers for new cards, which represents a 69% year-over-year. Not only are there more mailings but a substantial portion (roughly 60%) is also accompanied by an incentive. But what’s the point of an incentive if it doesn’t reach the right audience? Would you send a card with Victoria’s Secret rewards to a 25-year-old man?

You need to understand what a member is looking for in order to make an attractive offer to them. Perhaps they are interested in fraud protection. If so, consider a card that meets the requirements listed in this MarketWatch piece. Consider where you stand on security, member-determined spending limits and EMV technology. If it’s something a member will consider, you need to have an answer.

Maybe your field of membership is dominated by a college town. Students joined the credit union for its convenient locations and tailored services. Now that they’re leaving, how can you keep the relationship going? One way is through a credit card. Make sure to offer ones that meet their post-graduate needs. WalletPop has an excellent list of the best credit cards for all types of fresh grads. Whether the student prefers leisure or outfitting a new place, there are several cards that can enhance his or her life.

At 1Q11, credit card loans represented 6% of the industry’s $567.4B loan portfolio, which comes to a substantial $34.04B. How cooperatives deploy their card programs will directly inform the level of success. What you need to start with is a keen understanding of your membership as a whole and as individuals. Once you understand what members need, you can make the plastic work perfectly for both of you.




July 4, 2011



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