Target Your Market to Boost Profitability

Signal Financial Federal Credit Union reached out to the right members and increased its signature debit transactions by 80%.


Debit card interchange is a crucial source of revenue for credit unions, so a key to success in today’s down economy is to know when and where members are using their cards. It’s also important to know whether members use PIN or signature transactions.

Knowing a members’ debit card usage behavior in detail is the first step toward maximizing interchange revenue. Determine whether PIN or signature transactions are more profitable for your credit union, then use targeted marketing campaigns to encourage members to use your preferred method.

Signal Financial Federal Credit Union ($282M, Kensington, MD) noticed its debit card portfolio had stopped growing at “typical double-digit” rates.

“Fewer members were signing up for debit cards, and those who were using them used them with less frequency and on smaller transactions,” says marketing specialist Humaira Akhter. “On top of that, many of the transactions were being processed as PIN transactions, which are less valuable for us.

The credit union turned to its payment delivery provider, CO-OP Financial Services, for help.

“While we could monitor new cards and transactions, we really didn’t have the tools to track specifics,” Akhter says. For that, the credit union started using CO-OP Revelation in September 2009.   

Analyze Data to Change Member Behavior
CO-OP Revelation, which was developed in partnership with Saylent Technologies, features pre-built card groups that identify high- and low-transaction members. It also allows credit unions to create their own custom queries. 

Signal Financial determined its underperforming signature users were those who generated one-to-five signature transactions per month. To increase signature debit transactions among this group, the credit union ran a month-long promotion called “Nine & Dine.” 

“The goal of the campaign was to incent our target group to make signature debit transactions nine or more times during the month of May,” Akhter says. “Those members who accomplished this received a $50 Dining Dough gift certificate.”

The application houses 15 months of data, so Signal Financial easily used data from its March 2010 transactions report to select the campaign’s target group. When the promotion closed at the end of May 2010, the credit union ran a new report. The comparison allowed the credit union to measure its success.

“Our March report provided the baseline upon which we could see if we had managed to reach the right people,” Akhter says. “At the start of our campaign, this underperforming segment averaged 2.78 signature debit transactions per month. By the end of the promotional period, the same group was averaging 6.48 signature debit transactions per month.”

Behavior Changes. Dynamic Results.
The 133% jump in Signal Financial's underperforming signature users equates to an estimated $2 in incremental revenue per card, per month.

“Our interchange revenue increased by 68% during this campaign and our purchase volume also saw an increase of 73%,” Akhter says. “We had set out to increase our signature debit transactions, which we did by 80%.”

Prior to utilizing CO-OP Revelation, Signal Financial had a difficult time verifying the success of its debit card portfolio-centric marketing campaigns. “We typically participated in Visa-branded promotions that were sent to our entire card portfolio. This wasn’t ideal given our limited budget and resources,” Akhter says. “Now, we’re confident in the validity of our campaigns — the proof is right there in the numbers. We can’t wait to run our next one.”

To learn more about CO-OP Debit and CO-OP Revelation, visit or call (800) 782-9042, ext. 7140.



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