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Cards With Benefits: Are You Keeping Them Secret?
Thursday, July 31, 2014 6:35 AM

Card benefits may be one of today’s best-kept secrets with cardholders, and even some card issuers are unaware of the benefits automatically provided on MasterCard and Visa card accounts. According to Jennifer Kerry, CO-OP Financial Services’ vice president of credit issuer processing, consumers are hyper-aware of data breaches and the concern about card safety has recently escalated.

“It is important to educate yourself as well as remind your members that credit and debit cards offer valuable protection services, and that their credit union has international brand support behind the cards they issue,” she says.

Kerry notes that all MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards provide zero liability to cardholders, as long as the cardholder exercises reasonable care in safeguarding their card and remains in good standing. All issuers are required to provide 24/7 cardholder servicing via telephone for lost and stolen card reporting, emergency card replacement and cash advance services.

“Circumstances that make these services valuable are never planned, but when the credit union is the source of support and good news, a bad situation can end up being a great relationship builder between members and their credit unions,” Kerry says. “While card users should use their cards responsibly by keeping track of their card and the purchases made with it, using a credit or debit card is the most convenient and safe means for making everyday payment transactions.”

Over the last year, MasterCard and Visa have enhanced benefits for all cards, improving consumer appeal.

Now, all MasterCard Credit product types are automatically provided with these core MasterCard-funded benefits: price protection, extended warranty and identity theft resolution services with wallet protection.

MasterCard Enhanced Debit cards also have added core MasterCard-funded benefits, including price protection, extended warranty and satisfaction guarantee.

All Visa Credit consumer product types are automatically enrolled in Visa-funded auto rental collision damage waiver insurance. This is an extremely convenient and valuable benefit to members who travel and rent cars, saving them dollars per day.

Certain disclosures must be provided to cardholders, and Kerry says CO-OP Financial Services can help you with that process.

“Be sure to frequently remind your cardholders that the cards you issue have these benefits,” she recommends. “Marketing messages on statements, websites and other printed materials will encourage your members to reach for their credit union card for payment and peace of mind.”

To differentiate your card program and make it more appealing to a particular consumer segment, Kerry suggests credit unions may want to convert their standard MasterCard Debit cardholders to Enhanced Debit (there is no need to reissue cards or account numbers) and also consider adding customized benefits related to retail shopping value or travel.

“Many benefits are available for your selection from MasterCard and Visa, and CO-OP can help you evaluate benefits and pricing, as well as support you with enrollment and cardholder notification,” she adds.