The Old College Try: Harvard's CU Takes Steps To Boost Card Balances

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Harvard University Employees Credit CU said it doubled its credit card outstanding balances from $2.6 million to $5.4 million with a series of promotions and employee incentives provided by PSCU Financial Services.

As part of the program, the credit union said it lowered the interest rate on its Visa Gold card to 10.99%, and launched a 5.99% balance transfer promotion for both its Visa and Mastercard Classic cardholders through PSCU Financial Services' Balance Consolidation Solution. In addition, the credit union offered employee incentives for new cardholders and balance transfers.

"Our experience proves that a minimal investment in credit card programs can generate significant revenue, while simultaneously building member satisfaction and boosting other lending products," said Jim Lawrence, the credit union's EFT Services Manager.

The initial promotion was mainly conducted at the branches; a second balance transfer promotion followed, including member mailings, statement stuffers and website promotions, along with employee incentives.

At the same time, Harvard University Employees Credit Union introduced a new "relationship" Visa card that offered a discounted APR, along with discounts on other lending products, such as auto loans. Lawrence also added convenient new options for its cardholders including the ability to activate credit cards, pay credit card bills and set up automatic payments online with EasytoCUInfoLinkPlus.

That program, from PSCU Financial Services, allows cardholders to perform a variety of credit-card-related functions online. Single Sign On permits the cardholder to be transferred from the Harvard University Employees CU web site to the InfoLinkPlus website automatically and eliminates the need for a cardholder to provide a separate user ID and password.

Together, according to PSCU Financial Services, these activities have boosted the number of Visa accounts by 35%, and gross net income from these accounts has increased by 78%.

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