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Spirit Debit Reward Card Pays Off for Texas Trust CU
Thursday, May 2, 2013 5:15 AM

In 2009, Texas Trust CU rolled out its Spirit Debit Card, and two years after that, the Mansfield-based credit union added a reward component to the card. According to Amber Danford, senior vice president of Marketing and Business Development, the Spirit Debit Reward program was launched as a way to help area schools that are facing tight budgets. Participating schools receive a check at the end of each month, based on the number of transactions swiped from their school-specific Debit Reward Card. Schools get to choose how to use the money they earn.

TCUL’s LoneStar Leaguer caught up with Danford to see how the program is working today.

How many schools are participating?
There are currently four local school districts and one community college enrolled in the program. In May we will be adding our fifth school district to the program.

What are the key features of the card?
The greatest benefit of the Spirit Debit Reward card is that participating schools receive .15 cents every time the card is used.  Since launching the reward aspect of the card in 2011 participating schools have earned $235,560. The card is also used to build community spirit for each school. Each school has its own custom designed card, which reflects the personality and mascot of each school. A large number of the cards have been designed by students, through design contests, which has helped create an emotional connection between students and the cards.
What is usage rate?
Usage is extremely high. The Spirit Debit Reward card has been used more than 1.5 million times in the last two years. We have found that students use the card a little more often than our older members, but their transaction amounts are smaller.

Is this card helping to attract younger demographic to CU?
Our Spirit debit card is part of our Spirit in Action program which is geared to reaching teens.  This initiative enables us to build relationships with a younger demographic and allows us to position ourselves as a financial resource for them.

Why do you think it important to introduce teens to credit at such young age?  
Teens today have more buying power than ever before. It is important that they understand how to manage money before they go to college in order to build sound financial principals.