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TMG issues paper on credit card programs
DES MOINES, Iowa (6/12/12)--Credit unions that want to maximize the potential of the credit card portfolios must be able to access comprehensive data and know how to analyze that information, according to a new white paper from The Members Group.

Optimal program management is not possible without access to data and to efficient analysis of that data, according to credit card expert Brian Scott, who authored the white paper, "Credit Card Portfolio Best Practices for the Modern Payments World."

"Understand, benchmarking against industry best practices cannot be achieved without access to complete and easy-to-decipher analytics," Scott wrote. "Comprehensive data, available at cardholder-level detail, will be your best ally."

Scott, TMG vice president of sales, offered four areas that credit unions must focus on in their portfolios. They are:

  • Risk tolerance;
  • Card activation and usage strategies,
  • Inactive accounts management; and
  • Promotional programs.
In the risk tolerance portion of the paper, Scott discussed possible changes to the credit card application process, adjustments to average credit lines and aligning a financial institution's total loan picture with strategic growth goals.

Capabilities such as instant issuance and plastic customization are explored in the card activation and use strategies section. Financial institutions that provide plastic to approved applicants before they leave the branch see a nearly 50% increase in transactions during the first 45 days of the account, Scott said.

Scott recommended that credit unions review their portfolios for inactive accounts every six months. Data analytics can help identify cards that have experienced sudden drops in use, according to Smith.  If a cardholder has been using a card between eight and 10 times a month and suddenly drops to two transactions in one month, immediate action is essential. The user may have found an alternate source of credit. If the credit union can transfer the card to a rewards program or a customizable card, it can capture previous levels of use.

Best practices for credit card promotions, including balance transfer programs, are addressed in the fourth section of the white paper. "Many tried-and-true methods for attracting new cardholders, upping transaction activity or increasing interchange income appear to be successful on the surface while actually creating larger problems down the road," Scott said.

To access the white paper, use the link.
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