Cards Mean Business: Extend Credit, Extend Biz

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CLEARWATER, Fla.-Stepping up card program marketing may not only boost portfolios and revenue, it may also attract small business relationships.

Bill Lehman, VP of portfolio consulting for CSCU, believes a big opportunity exists to extend credit and debit cards to small companies. "A lot of credit unions today don't have a small business credit or debit product. With an electronic payments strategy being on the forefront, I think this is something credit unions should consider. We know from our statistics that small business credit and debit cards drive increased volume, usage, and interchange revenue. Talking about the bottom-line, this is a nice market we can hit."

It may also lead to additional business services, and the same can be said for debit and credit rewards programs producing deeper relationships with the rest of the membership, offered Lehman. He contended that since the CARD Act has prompted banks to raise rates, add fees, and lower limits, this is the time to bring in new members with credit and debit cards, and extend relationships with strong rewards programs.

"You definitely need a well-focused rewards program for debit and credit, even going deeper with some relationship rewards," said Lehman. "If members use their debit or credit card, throw them some rewards for taking out a car loan or home equity loan. Rewards drive increased loyalty and profitability."

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