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Make Your Credit Cards More Usable
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 6:45 AM

You read a lot these days about novel new payment methods. But really, it’s hard to beat credit cards at their own game.

  • Credit cards are accepted nearly everywhere.
  • Credit helps cardholders manage cash flow.
  • Cards often provide consumer protection, such as insurance on car rentals or the ability to dispute charges.
  • Cards offer rewards or cash back. 

For all these reasons, credit cards are among the strongest relationship builders a credit union can have. Yet, some consumers are reluctant to apply for or use credit cards. Young members may not have established credit yet. Members may also worry that their cards will be compromised by fraud or that credit card overuse will result in burdensome debt.

How do you make your credit cards more usable? The easy answer is to remove some of the barriers. Does your credit union offer young members a clear, easy path to credit? Promoting the availability of credit to younger members and then using that relationship to build credit over the years is a time-tested credit union strategy. Now may be a good time to re-imagine these programs to appeal specifically to Millennial members.

As in so many areas of financial services, technology may play a role in making your cards more user-friendly. Here are a few to consider:

CardNav by CO-OP
By offering members mobile controls, you empower them to turn cards on and off, set spending and locational limits, receive and respond to transaction alerts, and make their card accounts manageable again.

Tokenization
This security feature ups your game when it comes to virtual transactions. Not only will cardholders feel more secure making online and mobile card purchases, but you’ll also be one step closer to participating in Apple Pay.

EMV
As the industry moves toward EMV adoption in 2015, cardholders will likely be looking for EMV capability as a mark of security for card-present transactions.

Sprig/RealPay
Getting your cards “top of wallet” in the mobile space is an ongoing priority. Offering your members P2P payments via the Sprig by CO-OP mobile wallet makes that possibility more real. But the true game-changer may be RealPay, CO-OP’s soon-to-be-released real-time payments network that will enable real-time, pay-anyone P2P using Sprig. That’s usability that’s unique and on trend.

Merchant-Funded Rewards
Having a rewards program is now a given. But having one that helps you differentiate your cards in the minds of your members is clearly better. CO-OP Member Rewards offers an end-to-end solution that allows credit unions to compete with larger, national programs while providing merchant-funded rewards from local businesses, so your rewards program is uniquely yours. 

Mobile Rewards App
What makes a robust rewards program even more rewarding? Making it accessible by mobile device. As CO-OP prepares to roll out a new mobile rewards app, the emphasis is on making all aspects of your card relationships more useful and engaging.

This article was written by Jennifer Kerry, vice president, Credit Issuer Processing at Co-Op Financial Services, which is a partner of Credit Union Resources, Inc.