Perhaps Not Surprisingly, Entrust Credits Trust For Card Success

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RICHMOND, Va.-Design the credit card with the membership in mind, and the membership will have a mind to carry the plastic.

That's what Entrust FCU has learned, achieving 52% credit card penetration among its 9,700 members. Rates are competitive, and special features such as bonus reward points for seasonal merchandise draw attention, said Susan Adams. But what really makes its Visa offers attractive, according to the CEO, is that the card and its servicing are shaped to the unique needs of its field of membership-those who serve Christian-based organizations worldwide.

"It's a card they know they can count on and trust," said Adams. "They know their card will not be declined overseas. Many U.S. issuers cut off credit card usage overseas, or make it very limited. But we don't do that. Our members know we are looking out for them."

To do that Entrust spends a little extra on fraud prevention services and-due to the overseas transactions-expects more fraud losses, for which EFCU covers the costs by passing on a 1.5% to 2% fee per transaction when cards are used outside the U.S. "Our members do not complain about that," Adams said. "They sometimes question the charge the first time they see it. But when we explain what it is they appreciate what we are doing for them."

Partnering with PSCU Financial Services, Entrust provides card service 24/7, something needed by its members-more than 50% live or work outside the U.S. While service and the card's global reach are strong selling points, what creates a close bond with the credit union is that Entrust gives a portion of the credit interchange to a charity its membership supports, said Adams. "They know that every time they use their credit union credit card something is going back to a cause they believe in."

Marketing plays a role, as well, acknowledged Adams, since credit cards ($8.4 million in balances) are one of the CU's major business lines. "It represents 12% of our assets and 30% of loans outstanding, so credit cards are an integral part of our marketing strategies and one of the major products we cross-sell. Our members continue to hear from us throughout the year, reminding them of our flexible terms and features."

Entrust offers many card options, from Platinum (8.9% APY), to Classic (9.5%), to a student card (10.5%), and it prices according to risk. The Classic and student card carry no annual fee. Platinum, which comes with rewards, charges $25 a year. Entrust offers bonus rewards points during selected times of the year.

Leading Edge of Mobile

"Around October and November we know electronic stores have higher sales so we will offer double reward points for those stores before Christmas. We'll do the same thing for merchants related to travel right before summer."

Points are redeemed through PSCU's CURewards program.

Entrust has worked to remain on the leading edge of mobile technology so that its systems work with numerous mobile devices members may have. Adams said that when overseas, members check their accounts frequently, monitoring for fraud and to see how much money is coming out for their own transactions.

"The exchange rate can lead to confusion sometimes. They like our card because it's there when they need it and so is the credit union. Our membership is on the move and very busy. The last thing they need is to worry about their credit card."

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