Unlocking the Power of Debit Cards: Effective Marketing Strategies for Credit Unions

Unlocking the Power of Debit Cards: Effective Marketing Strategies for Credit Unions

by Phil Seely, AVP, Customer Service & Portfolio Development

More than half of consumers identify debit as their card of choice, reflecting a continuing trend in online and contactless spending since 2020 (SP & Global). To make your credit union’s debit card top of wallet for cardholders requires research and a targeted marketing strategy.

A Well-Informed Strategy

All good strategies start with research. Understanding members’ needs and goals allows you to better develop your debit program offerings and messaging. Start by grouping your members, and potential members, into segments you can target with personalized messaging. Segments can be based on different types of data including: 

  • Demographic (ex: age)
  • Location
  • Behavioral (ex: transaction or email engagement)
  • Psychological (ex: interests or values)

Member-specific information can be gained directly via surveys or in-person discussion. Reviewing quantitative data can also be helpful. This might include transaction activity or engagement metrics from communication channels such as your credit union’s emails, website, and social media accounts.

More general market research can also help you gain insights into trends that might impact your debit program marketing efforts. For example, 53% of consumers, especially younger generations, utilize digital wallets more frequently than physical forms of payment, which often contributes to overspending (Forbes). This presents an opportunity to promote the benefits of your credit union’s debit card for tracking their purchases, which makes it a good addition to their physical or mobile wallets.

Informed and Targeted Debit Program Benefits

A deeper understanding of your targeted audience can help inform both your messaging and debit program benefits. Research can help you learn which rewards and features are important to cardholders so you can add these to your debit program to promote card use. If your survey, for example, shows that supporting the community is important to your members, then you might consider offering an option with your debit program to round up purchases for donations to cardholders’ preferred local charities. A third-party platform can help empower this goal. Harness, for example, helps credit unions create seamless experiences for cardholders. Knowing what your audience wants helps you offer relevant benefits, which can then be highlighted in your communications.

Reach Your Audience Effectively

Part of your research should investigate where and how your targeted audience can best be reached. Communication preferences can be asked via a survey, form submission fields, or during in-person conversations.

Analyzing engagement metrics like clicks in emails or likes and comments in social media can help you see where your audience is most engaged. If you do direct mailing, what is your response rate and which demographics are responding to them? Once you know what is important to each targeted segment, use their preferred communication channel, or channels, to reach them more effectively.

Don’t forget in-person communication. Every staff member that interacts with members should be well-informed on the benefits of your debit program so they can both promote it and help answer questions for interested parties as well as cardholders. If you’re looking to expand your reach and membership, regional events are a great way to reach out to new audiences.

Maintaining Positive Results

Marketing your debit program requires ongoing communication along with multiple touchpoints to raise awareness, gain interest, and inspire people to sign up for your debit program. It also requires ongoing research, such as regular surveys, and following up with cardholders to ensure your program remains relevant to their needs and interests. Measuring metrics like transaction volume and card activation rates before and after your marketing campaigns can help with tracking their success.

Debit cards are a popular way for consumers to conveniently shop online and in-person while staying on top of their budgets. They present an excellent opportunity to build member loyalty and trust as well as grow your credit union’s portfolio. A well-informed marketing strategy based on research can help your credit union grow its debit program via offerings and messaging that resonate strongly with members and potential members.

At Envisant, we’re here to help you develop a strong, relevant debit strategy that fits the priorities of your credit union and its members. To learn more about the Envisant difference and get started, contact us at 1-800-942-7124.

Originally Published on CUInsight