What’s Happening to Debit?

I’ve always felt a little guilty when I used my debit card to pay for something like gum at a gas station. Surely, most “normal” people carry enough cash around for small purchases like that; the cashier must be secretly laughing at me for having to pull out plastic for such a small purchase. Turns out, I may be much more “normal” in this regard than I first thought.

We hosted a recent webinar with Discover, the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Turnkey Credit, Debit and Prepaid Card Programs, that combed through the 2012 Debit Issuer Study from PULSE, a Discover Financial Services company. According to this study, more consumers are using their debit cards in place of cash, increasing the percentage of debit sales for smaller amounts. The study found that, in 2011, 31% of debit transactions were under $10, 21% were between $10–$20, and 23% were between $20 and $40. Consumers also are using debit more in general. Consumer debit growth in 2011 slightly exceeded issuers’ expectations. For example, for credit unions, 8% growth was projected for 2011 in PIN transactions, and 12% growth was projected for signature transactions. In reality, there was a 9% growth in PIN transactions in 2011 and a 15% growth for signature transactions in 2011. Furthermore, consumer total annual spend for 2011 was 7% higher than total annual spend in 2010. Looks like I’m not the only one who is using my debit card more and more.

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Card products are the secret to long-term (member) relationships

The dust is still settling from Bank Transfer Day, having given many credit unions across the country an opportunity to introduce themselves to a brand new set of members. But as every credit union marketing person knows, getting a member to join is only half the battle. Building a rich, multi-faceted, long-term relationship is more difficult and takes time.

We recently recorded a podcast with Stephanie Polen, Vice President of Client Portfolio Management for Vantiv (our Preferred Partner for Debit, Credit and ATM Processing) on how card products help extend and deepen deposit relationships.  Stephanie has spent the last several years working as part of Vantiv’s ‘Portfolio Optimization Team,’ helping credit unions across the country grow their debit and credit portfolios through acquisition, activation, retention, and rewards, with a focus on increasing portfolio profitability and generating additional revenue. That’s kind of a mouthful, but what I’m trying to say is she definitely knows her stuff when it comes to successful card programs!

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It’s time to give your credit products a face lift.

NAFCU recently held its annual Strategic Growth Conference in sunny Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I was here in 50 degree DC for that one…nonetheless, I got the scoop from our team on which sessions kept people out of the sun and in their seats. “Integrating Credit Cards into Your Overall Payments Strategy,” was top of the list. The session was presented by the very knowledgeable Stephanie Polen of FTPS. Let me tell you, I’ve seen Stephanie on the big stage before, and she has a brilliant marketing mind (something I admire as a fellow marketer). At the Growth Conference she outlined how credit union marketers can put some simple concepts into action to revamp credit card programs post CARD Act.

I wanted to share some of the action items that you can take to your credit union and impress your peers with your marketing know-how, innovation and ultimately improved success and profitability of your card programs. (You can thank us later).

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