What is Cross-Selling In Banking?

Author Erin Petro
Read time 6 minutes read time

Cross-selling is a powerful and efficient credit union marketing tool. It helps generate revenue for a financial institution and improves customer satisfaction.

Targeted cross-selling can help you further when developing a plan. But what is cross-selling, and how can you use it to help credit union members while generating more revenue?

Cross-Selling Products in Credit Unions

Cross-selling involves selling a related banking product to a customer. For example, if they are depositing in their savings account, suggest opening a CD. You may want to offer life insurance to go with a retirement plan.

The point of cross-selling is to increase a credit union’s revenue while at the same time helping the customer fulfill their banking needs.

It comes down to services per household. You want to increase the services each household uses.

Why Cross-Selling is Important to Credit Unions

Cross-selling allows a credit union to increase revenues without acquisition costs. Having employees suggest services to complement the customer’s existing services adds to the bottom line without any additional investment.

Because a customer is committing more of their banking to your credit union, it creates brand loyalty. They are less likely to move their accounts; they have committed to you.

Cross-selling in banking fulfills the customer’s needs. They may not realize they need a product you have to offer. By pointing out a product or service to them, you reach important goals and financial life milestones.

Cross-selling isn’t meant to trick a customer into buying something. Instead, they are directed towards a needed service. This endears them more to your credit union.

Targeted Cross-Selling

One category of cross-selling products in credit unions is targeted cross-selling. This occurs when a target individual is identified among existing customers.

One example is to target messages to heavy revolvers and offer them lower-cost refinance opportunities. By examining payment patterns in the ACH data, Nickels can identify the members who are paying competitor cards.

By further looking at the payment behaviors, you can infer whether those members are revolving or transacting on those cards. Properly identifying who to cross-sell is the most crucial step in the process.

Once you understand your membership base further, your outreach can be strategic and personalized. Nickels will identify, reach, and engage existing customers so you can cross-sell low-interest credit card products to the members who would benefit the most. Knowing this helps not only the credit union cross-sell, but benefits the members overall financial wellbeing.

What is the Difference Between Cross-Selling and Upselling

Both cross-selling and upselling are meant to generate revenue. But they use different tactics. Upselling is meant to increase the value of a purchased item.

Cross-selling increases the total number of items a customer purchases.

For example, a buyer intends to purchase a product or service. An upsell tries to have the buyer purchase or upgrade to a more expensive product or service.

But, cross-selling offers different products that the customer didn’t intend to buy. The added service or products create a more well-rounded or balanced outcome.

Strategies for Cross-Selling Credit UnionProducts

There is a progression of ways to initiate cross-selling to your customers. But always remember that although cross-selling products generate revenue, they should also benefit customers. You want to build trust, not erode it.

Analyze Credit Union Customer

Ensure you understand your customers’ needs, goals, preferences and behaviors. Nickels does that with their checking account analysis. It gives you data and segmentation to identify opportunities for credit card conversions.

Asking the customer directly about their satisfaction and expectations is also essential. Listen to their feedback.

Right Channels and Timing is Everything

Use the right channels and timing to reach out to customers. Avoid spamming or interrupting them with irrelevant or excessive offers.

For example, Nickels will reach out to members once the credit union has appropriately identified the member segments that could benefit from the products or services the credit union has available. Nickels has ready-to-use playbooks that a credit union can easily implement into an email campaign to educate customers on the credit union’s low-interest credit cards.

For heavy revolvers, the timing is probably right to make a change. You’ll be available with a product that meets the customer’s needs.

Communicate Value and Benefits

Communicate how your offer will solve a customer’s problem. For example, a member with a revolving balance and a high-interest rate may be open to hearing about your low-interest credit card. Highlight the advantages and differentiations you have to offer.

Nickels can help you with that. They provide credit unions with a white-labeled product, Card Check. Card Check allows the member to analyze what the competitor’s credit card is actually costing them. It also shows members how much they can save by switching to a credit union’s low-rate card.

Don’t Be Pushy

You don’t want to be overly pushy with sales tactics. Respect a customer’s disinterest; no means no. Cross-selling doesn’t mean hawking a product but helping customers with their banking needs.

Although some financial institutions incentivize employees to cross-sell, be careful about putting too much emphasis on it. Don’t instill quotas. This can lead to aggressive sales tactics and turn off customers.

Cross-Selling Ratio in Banking

The cross-selling ratio is one way to benchmark and compare your performance to industry standards. It measures the average number of services or products that a member purchases.

The cross-sell ratio is determined by dividing the total number of products or services sold by the total number of customers.

Challenges of Cross-Selling for Credit Unions

Although cross-selling is an important strategy to increase revenue, there are some challenges. They include:

  • customer resistance
  • lack of trust
  • limited product knowledge
  • regulatory compliance.

It’s imperative to have the proper framework in place to ensure a good customer experience.

Following Regulatory Compliance

Products and services have different legal and ethical requirements. Some of these include ethical requirements like:

  • disclosure
  • suitability
  • privacy
  • anti-laundering

There is also the risk of conflict of interest. There should be a sound compliance program that ensures all cross-selling is aligned with relevant laws and standards. The customer’s interest should always be put first.

Establishing Customer Trust and Satisfaction

It’s essential to build trust and satisfaction. Cross-selling should not interfere with this. Members should receive transparent and relevant offers.

It is essential to have a customer-centric approach to cross-selling banking products. All cross-selling outreach must have the customer’s needs and preferences first. The goal is to deliver solutions.

Cross-selling in Customer Success

By effectively cross-selling banking products, you can simultaneously help members while generating more revenue. Customer loyalty will be enhanced if you offer products that accentuate their banking experience.

Helping revolvers convert to low-interest credit cards is one way to enhance the banking experience. Nickels can help. They can implement their identify, reach, engage program to help grow your credit card portfolio. 

About Nickels

Nickels is a CUSO that helps credit unions cross sell credit cards, shift spend to their cards, and refinance members’ competitor card debt. Founded in Ann Arbor, MI, their mission is to improve members’ credit card health, in part by shifting members from high interest competitor cards to lower rate credit union products. For more information, please visit nickels.us.

How to Step-Up Your Credit Union Marketing

Author Erin Petro
Read time 7 minutes read time

It takes more than a nudge to convince some people to move to a new financial institution. Usually, a life event like a move or marriage triggers it. So, when a potential member is prepared to move or is dissatisfied with their current financial institution, you must be top of mind. That’s why credit union marketing is essential.

Promoting a credit union’s community support and favorable interest rates in this competitive financial market are significant steps toward capturing new members. But how is this accomplished? What are the steps to implementing an effective credit union marketing strategy?

What is a New Member Worth?

Before planning a credit union marketing campaign, a budget must be established. Unfortunately, that is usually the first stumbling block. How much is a reasonable marketing budget? You will need your credit union’s average member acquisition cost and member’s lifetime value (LTV) to determine a budget.

The LTV is a rough revenue number generated per member over their entire relationship with your credit union. It’s based on a member’s average duration and revenue. 

Once you have the LTV, multiply it by your new member goal. The average acquisition cost of a new member is $562.50

This will give you a budget. It will also let you measure the credit union marketing ROI. For example, if your LTV is $10,000 and your member goal is 25, the campaign could generate $250,000 in revenue. You’ve received a healthy return if you spent $15,000 on the marketing campaign.

How to Attract New Credit Union Members

Once you have a budget and are ready to develop your credit union marketing strategy, set specific goals and be realistic. Evaluate past membership drives and determine where they succeeded and what needs improvement.

For example, if last time you attracted 20 members, this time you may want to convert 30. If it’s a new drive, establish a realistic number.

Don’t just focus on new members; several types of potential members need different services. Finding and fulfilling the needs of these individuals will generate revenue. Market individual services like:

  • auto loans
  • home loans
  • credit cards
  • checking and savings account openings

Identifying the various needs allows you to fine-tune your credit union’s marketing strategy. This will help in determining goals. When developing specific goals, it’s best to marry them to your branch’s quarterly goals.

Credit Union Marketing Loans

Attract high-value credit union members by providing solutions to their pain points. For example, hosting free financial classes that refer to the loan application process will endear current and potential members to you.

Prepare an eBook on various loans and how to apply. This will help to drive credit union loyalty among existing members. It will also attract new credit union members.

Through marketing and classes, prospective or current members will know that credit unions tend to have a more manageable loan application process. You’re there to help facilitate their home or auto ownership. And although APRs vary among financial institutions, a credit union can often be more flexible. This needs to be explained to current and potential members.

Partnering with respected realtors or auto dealers is beneficial. When recommending a financial institution, you want to be on these providers’ shortlist. Build a network with these big-ticket sellers and community business leaders. Promote working together.

Marketing for Credit Card Conversion

Credit union marketing for credit card conversions begins in-house. Using the core, you can initiate personalized marketing to members by analyzing the data. It starts with knowing how your members behave with competitors’ credit cards. This can be done with three easy steps:

  1. Identify – revolving cardholders and segment
  2. Reach – new and existing members through marketing campaigns
  3. Engage – using personalized tools that convert new and existing members to your credit cards

Nickels, has the tools to take advantage of the information already in the core to unlock insights about your members’ competitor card use. But it goes deeper than this. By using Nickels checking account analysis, you can identify priority member segments. For example, they could be:

  • heavy revolvers – continually carry balances over to the next month
  • light revolvers – often carry balances over to the next month
  • transactors – don’t let a balance carry over from month to month

This information enables you to know who and how to reach credit union members. Customizing an email campaign for existing members based on their spending behavior will be effective. Digital marketing for credit unions, like Google Ads, should also be used to reach non-members.

Once you have identified and reached out to members, it’s time to show them exactly how much money they are spending on their credit cards. That’s where Nickels’ Card Check comes into play.

Card Check is a white-labeled tool provided to credit unions for their members. Card Check helps members select the best credit card for them, based on total card value for their behavior. Members enter information, and it shows them how much money their credit card, even with rewards factored in, is truly costing them.

By optimizing for the user’s overall financial benefit, the credit card shopping process is reframed from splashy promotional rewards to total card value. And, for most cardholders, this is where credit union cards win. With this approach, targeting individuals for credit card conversions becomes part of your credit union marketing plan.

Open Checking and Savings Accounts

Drive credit union loyalty with marketing checking and savings accounts. Present a community-oriented place where all financial needs are met.

Target parents with coming-of-age children. Don’t use the cliché, “save for your child’s future”; instead, present savings and checking accounts with your credit union as a way for a child to create a financial system.

Evergreen campaigns should be employed. These are autopilot advertising programs that can target potential members. Use digital marketing for credit unions to accomplish this.

One form of digital marketing is Google Ads. These credit unions can implement hyper-local campaigns. Use searchable words like “I need to open a checking account” and “banks near me” to capture those potential members searching for a financial institution. Google can track the phone calls received, and with your website’s analytics, you will see your ROI.

Another credit union marketing strategy is a referral bonus. These bonuses need to be compelling. Offering $25 in cash isn’t effective. Instead, offer more compelling bonuses like.

  • entry into a give-a-way for a large prize
  • ticket to general admission for a large event
  • pizza party for the office or child’s classroom

Be imaginative with referral bonuses.

Community events and sponsorships are excellent ways to show involvement in people’s lives. Volunteering is sometimes more important. It allows you face-to-face time with community leaders and potential members.

Remember that credit unions tend to offer higher interest rates for savings accounts than banks. This should be touted in the credit union marketing strategy.

Fees are a sore spot for many people. Credit union fees are usually less than banks. Ensure potential members are aware of this. And don’t forget to remind current customers in order to reduce member churn.

Finally, when marketing, ensure that potential members know credit unions are non-profits that cater to their members.

Credit Union Marketing Trends

There are many pieces to the marketing pie. By developing a cohesive marketing plan with the right budget, credit unions can reach potential and existing members with trustworthy guidance, optimized for their overall financial benefit. This approach not only fosters trust but also establishes enduring relationships with the members that opens the door for cross-selling opportunities, ultimately contributing to the growth and success of the credit union.

Contact Nickels to find out how to achieve one piece of the marketing pie. Use their identify, reach and engage system to generate credit card conversions.

About Nickels

Nickels is a CUSO that helps credit unions cross sell credit cards, shift spend to their cards, and refinance members’ competitor card debt. Founded in Ann Arbor, MI, their mission is to improve members’ credit card health, in part by shifting members from high interest competitor cards to lower rate credit union products. For more information, please visit nickels.us.

What is Credit Card Marketing?

Author Erin Petro
Read time 7 minutes read time

In the last three years, credit unions have taken a bigger piece of the pie in the competitive consumer credit card space. From 2020 to 2023, Credit unions increased their primary credit card share from 6% to 8.3%.

But with national banks taking the most significant share with 68%, credit unions need strong credit card marketing strategies to continue growing. Knowing how to sell credit cards to members is imperative. But what is credit card marketing, and what are the processes to make it work?

Credit Card Marketing

Targeting specific demographics on the right channel with relevant content is essential when marketing credit cards. Identifying the appropriate platforms and developing content that resonates with the target member is essential. Timing is also crucial.

Remember to incorporate flexibility in your credit card marketing strategies. Changing members’ motivations, behaviors, and expectations can make a static credit card campaign ineffective. 

When developing credit card promotions, differentiate members by generation, income level and more. There are several steps to take that will lead to a credit card marketing campaign. They include:

  • identifying target demographics
  • using demographics to identify needs
  • leveraging and segmenting members’ data

Personalizing a credit union’s approach will create compelling campaigns. It’s also an opportunity to connect with members.

Identifying Target Demographics

Each generation has a different philosophy and needs. Generation Z is digitally native and socially conscious. The average Gen Z is carrying around $2,283 in credit card debt. The national average is $6,365. 

Seventy-seven percent of Gen Z believe establishing a credit history is important to avoid financial dependence on parents. They tend to use credit cards responsibly. Communicating with them about the opportunity to establish good credit is the avenue to convincing them to apply for a credit card.

On the other hand, millennials have the fastest-growing debt load. They started acquiring credit card debt at age 24, and only 13% are revolving debt-free. 

Their credit card balance averages $4,651. But their payment plans are under control, and only 2.7% have fallen behind 30 to 59 days. Still, nearly two out of three have credit card debt. This is more than double the number who have student loans. 

Because many Generation Xers took on their children’s student loans or are caring for aged parents, only 11% are free of credit card debt. The average Gen X credit card debt is $7,070. Thirty-eight percent of Gen X say they carry a balance month to month. They are strong candidates for rollovers to lower interest rate credit cards. Many have high reward cards, but because they carry balances with high-interest rates, they are losing money. 

And finally, baby boomers are in the best position at 29% without revolving debt. Their average credit card balance is $6,747, with a 3.2% delinquency rate for 90 to 180 days.

Use Demographics to Identify Needs

Millennials, baby boomers and especially Gen X are strong candidates for rollovers to low interest rate credit cards. Educating them on how much money they are losing will guide them to roll over their balance to a low-interest-rate credit union card. Some tools can help in making this conversion. One is the Nickels Card Check tool. Available through Nickels.us, it shows the members how much they owe and can save by rolling their balance to a low-interest credit union card. Credit unions provide this at no charge as a service to their members. It educates while identifying a need and can be an asset in the credit union’s marketing plan.

Leverage and Segment Members Data

A credit union can survey members to identify demographics or those with competitor’s credit cards. This will help in formulating credit card campaigns. But taking advantage of already available information that lives in the core is also essential. For example, there is transactional and member data. 

It is essential to integrate the core and card programs. Analyze spending trends and identify growth opportunities. One way to identify trends and growth is the Nickels checking account analysis. It uses in-house data and segments customers according to their credit card behavior. This information allows the development of a strong marketing plan.

With solid credit card marketing strategies, it’s important to communicate the promotional credit card offers to receptive members. Using the information in the core, along with surveys, is vital.

There are several ways to use the information gathered.

Promote Local Options

Although many people don’t realize it, local credit unions offer solid credit card options. And although with larger companies, the rewards feel great. A credit union should position its credit card for short-term and long-term financial wellness.

Seasonal Credit Card Advertising

Running credit card campaigns during peak spending seasons can impact a credit unions credit card adoption.

Summer vacations, back to school and the holiday season are key times to sell credit cards. But waiting until the season’s peak will not be effective. Instead, credit card campaigns should be implemented before the season begins. 

During these times, educating members to see the big picture is essential. Using a lower-rate card is smarter in the long run and will provide the biggest reward. 

Credit Unions and Digital Marketing

Credit unions rely heavily on a personal approach. This should extend online. Today’s consumers expect to engage digitally. Members want easy-to-use solutions and personalized promotions. Credit card marketing strategies and acquisitions must have a cohesive online experience.

Social media is an excellent tool for outreach. There are 4.6 billion active social media users globally. Social media encourages member engagement. 

There are two ways to use social media. One is organic, which takes a lot of time and effort. It’s a commitment. The other way is paid advertising. This allows specific demographics to be targeted, takes less time to implement, and requires a monetary investment. By engaging with members, education and, ultimately, conversion is more likely.

Credit unions should use multiple communication types. This can mean taking advantage of cross-device communication strategies. The channels used should be diversified. These include live website chat, messaging, text services and social media.

And although it’s essential to advertise on the right channels, the content delivered must resonate with their specific audiences. This can be done by leveraging fresh, comprehensive data sets to achieve a more holistic view of members and other customers.

The point is to touch members as much as possible and not only educate them about interest rates and rewards but also make them aware of credit union card benefits.

Credit Card Marketing Imperative

It’s necessary to stand out in the credit card crowd. A credit union can enhance existing practices and uncover potential opportunities through credit card marketing.

By using digital and seasonal campaigns, members can be targeted when their needs are high. Using existing information can provide the edge needed to reach members. Know members because each generation has different goals and credit needs.Ultimately, the goal is to use today’s technology to educate and convert members and Nickels.us accomplishes that. It takes credit card marketing to the next level. With Nickels Checking Account Analysis and Card Check tool, information is provided about customers that leads to conversions. If you want to take the right step to market credit cards effectively, contact Nickels.us.

About Nickels

Nickels is a CUSO that helps credit unions cross sell credit cards, shift spend to their cards, and refinance members’ competitor card debt. Founded in Ann Arbor, MI, their mission is to improve members’ credit card health, in part by shifting members from high interest competitor cards to lower rate credit union products. For more information, please visit nickels.us.

How Cornerstone Credit Union Leveraged Nickels for Impactful Marketing

Author Erin Petro
Read time 3 minutes read time

The Challenge:

In a rising interest rate environment with more members turning to credit cards to make ends meet, Cornerstone Credit Union saw that one of the biggest drains on their members’ wallets were high interest charges on unpaid credit card balances.  They wanted to support their members by reducing the cost of their credit card debt with the major banks. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported that, in 2023, over half of the credit cardholders in the US revolved on their credit card debt (i.e. carried an unpaid balance from one statement to the next).  These cardholders were charged over $120B in interest and fees while earning only $11B in rewards.

Cornerstone Credit Union made it a goal to help their members effectively manage revolving competitor credit card debt, but faced challenges in running a targeted campaign due to insufficient resources and analysis, hindering their ability to support the members who could benefit the most from refinance opportunities.

The Goal:

  1. Identify members revolving on competitor credit cards
  2. Engage them with personalized emails
  3. Connect them to Cornerstone’s lower-rate personal loans

The Solution:

Using Nickels to analyze their ACH data, Cornerstone identified that 62% of its membership base was likely revolving on competitor credit cards. This insight allowed Cornerstone to pinpoint priority member segments for targeted email campaigns, paving the way for a more strategic and effective approach.

Nickels provided Cornerstone with personalized, ready-to-send marketing emails. These materials, crafted for maximum impact, encouraged members to shift from high-interest competitor credit cards to the lower-rate credit cards and personal loans Cornerstone offers. “Nickels became an extension of our marketing team by helping facilitate the analysis and creating the marketing materials. This reduced the amount of time and effort on our team, while also driving results.” Said Jim Coons, CFO at Cornerstone Credit Union.

The Results:

The collaboration with Nickels resulted in impressive results for Cornerstone Credit Union:

  1. A 171% increase in personal loans during the month of October year-over-year. 
  1. Nickels’ campaign emails outperformed Cornerstone’s baseline open rates by 40%, showcasing the effectiveness of the personalized outreach. 
  1. Click-to-Open rates saw a significant 31% increase above Cornerstone’s baseline, indicating a higher engagement level among members targeted by Nickel’s campaigns. 

By harnessing the power of Nickel’s insights and marketing support, Cornerstone not only streamlined its marketing efforts, but also significantly boosted its lending activities. This partnership stands as an example of how Nickels supports local credit unions to drive results via personalized marketing campaigns.

About Cornerstone Credit Union

Cornerstone Credit Union has been “Rock Solid” since its founding in 1939 as MICRO SWITCH Employees’ Credit Union. Today, we serve more than 13,600 members and are open for membership to anyone who lives or works in the following northwest Illinois and southern Wisconsin counties. Illinois: Boone, Bureau, Carroll, JoDaviess, Ogle, Lee, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago Counties. Wisconsin: Green and Rock Counties. Family members of current CCU members also can join.

About Nickels

Nickels is a CUSO that helps credit unions cross sell credit cards, shift spend to their cards, and refinance members’ competitor card debt. Founded in Ann Arbor, MI, their mission is to improve members’ credit card health, in part by shifting members from high interest competitor cards to lower rate credit union products. For more information, please visit nickels.us.

Nickels and Community Choice Credit Union Form Strategic Partnership to Empower Members’ Financial Well-being

Author Erin Petro
Read time 3 minutes read time

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (November 16th, 2023) – In their shared mission to improve members’ financial health, fintech Nickels has partnered with Community Choice Credit Union to help members eliminate competitor credit card debt. The partnership will allow Community Choice to identify and reach members carrying costly, revolving competitor credit card debt, and provide them with the support and products they need.

With this partnership, Community Choice will gain access to Nickels Checking Account Analysis, an integrated, secure analysis of competitive card payment behaviors. Based on this ongoing analysis, Community Choice triggers personalized, ready-to-send campaigns to help members in need of lower-cost options to high-interest debt.

This approach aligns with Community Choice’s belief that financial wellness is unique and needed for every individual member and can be improved regardless of age, income, credit score and savings balances.

“At Community Choice Credit Union, we are committed to fostering trust-based relationships with our members, as well as equipping them with the tools required to navigate their financial journey,” says Community Choice Chief Human Resources and Marketing Officer Donna Siejutt. “This partnership will allow us to gain a deeper understanding of our membership base so we can offer specific products and tools, like our Choice Map program. It can help us identify our lending opportunities that best fit with their profile while limiting the likelihood of high-interest debt,” Siejutt adds.

“Community Choice is deeply committed to their members’ financial well-being, and we’re proud to help them create more value for existing members,” said Joseph Gracia, CEO of Nickels. “Nickels has proven that targeted and specific outreach can successfully shift members from high-interest competitor cards to lower rate credit union products.”

This strategic partnership signifies a significant step forward in Community Choice Credit Union’s mission to elevate the financial well-being of their members. By working together with Nickels, Community Choice will now have the insights to help reduce their members’ spending on competitor cards while also growing their card portfolio, and refinance products.

About Community Choice Credit Union

Community Choice Credit Union was established in 1935 in Redford Township. Over the past nine decades, it has grown to expand its membership and impact around the state of Michigan to include 24 member centers from Southeastern Michigan to West Michigan’s Lakeshore region. Community Choice works with approximately 120,000 business and individual members to help them achieve the life they desire. Learn more at www.communitychoice.com.

About Nickels

Nickels is a CUSO that helps credit unions cross sell credit cards, shift spend to their cards, and refinance members’ competitor card debt. Founded in Ann Arbor, MI, their mission is to improve members’ credit card health, in part by shifting members from high interest competitor cards to lower rate credit union products. For more information, please visit nickels.us.

Unveiling Hidden Insights: Leveraging Competitor Card Behavior to Drive Deposit Growth

Author Erin Petro
Read time 5 minutes read time

Discover the untapped potential within consumers spending patterns on competitor cards, and how these insights can reshape marketing and boost overall growth and profitability.

Community banks and credit unions put in a lot of time to better serve their consumers.  I know this because I work with them daily.  Our clients want to better understand their consumers so that they can match them with the right products at the right time.  

Unfortunately, discretionary spending on credit cards represents a large gap in their understanding of their own consumers. This falls outside the scope of most banking relationships because the 15 largest card providers control a staggering 90% of the credit card market.  This means that most credit unions and banks have little insight into how their consumers spend their money on competitor cards. 

Our History Identifying Revolvers

Nickels has long been committed to empowering community banks and credit unions.  We do this by helping them understand their consumers’ credit card behavior.  Our focus to date has been identifying consumers that are revolving (i.e. not paying their statement balances in full) on competitor cards.  This provides our clients with the power to make faster decisions for which consumers will be better served by taking on a balance transfer or a personal loan. To date, we’ve helped consumers refinance millions of dollars in competitor credit card debt. But that’s not the only insight that our checking account analysis yields.

The Opportunity with Transactors

As banks’ and credit unions’ focus has shifted to growing deposits, understanding competitor credit card spending reveals tremendous insight into who can save.

Our data shows that, on average, approximately 16% of a community bank or credit unions’ account-holders use competitor cards solely to transact. And what’s intriguing about this segment is that their total payments to competitor cards can offer valuable insight into their overall spending habits. In a recent analysis of an existing client, we found that nearly 10% of their overall competitor card paying membership spent greater than $1,000 per month on average over the past year. These high spenders are primarily engaging with major banks like Citi, Capital One, Chase, and Bank of America. 

From Insight to Action

Using transaction data to accurately identify these spenders can hold the key to driving your institution’s growth. Below are several approaches that can help yield positive outcomes:  

  1. Increasing Interchange on Your Own Cards: If your bank or credit union boasts a credit card program, using checking account data to identify consumers who use competitor cards elsewhere can provide crucial insights for effective marketing campaigns.
    • For consumers who do not already have a card with you, marketing that targets reward offers and other perks that are personalized to the amounts they’re already spending with competitor credit cards becomes compelling.  You can set target thresholds to ensure that they’re shifting their spend to your cards. 
    • For Consumers who already have a card with you, successful marketing around activation can involve bonuses for shifting that spend amount on competitor credit cards to your card.  Again, personalizing the offers to target the spend you now know that they’re already making elsewhere. 
  1. Building Deposits: Transactors who consistently pay off their credit card balance in full are great candidates for savings products (such as high-yield savings accounts).  These consumers are showing that they’re able to consistently make high volume payments, meaning that they likely have financial surplus for savings.  There are also opportunities to connect the high volume spending with higher volume saving, like how Apple Card cash back is automatically saved in a high yield account. Offering higher interest rates based on institutional card spend can further incentivize spending that helps to foster savings for this specific consumer segment.

Unlock the Insights of Competitor Card Behavior

Marketers know that the key formula for successful marketing is getting the right product in front of the right consumer at the right time.  Most institutions are doing this with a hand tied behind their back because they have no visibility into their consumers’ discretionary spend behavior. Nickels allows banks and credit unions to understand this crucial information and leverage it to build campaigns aligned with their institution’s goals.  By being able to understand how their consumers use competitor credit cards, banks and credit unions will be able to target their products much more effectively, empowering campaigns from growing deposits to refinancing debt to cross selling their own credit cards.

About Nickels

Nickels is a CUSO that helps banks and credit unions take control over their consumers’ third-party credit card debt. Founded in Ann Arbor, MI, their mission is to improve consumers’ credit card health. They do this, in part, by identifying those that are credit card revolvers with the major banks and helping credit unions refinance that third-party credit card debt into their own lower interest products.  Nickels also offers Credit Card Coach, a white-label web app that redesigns the credit card experience to improve members credit card health, regardless of which credit cards they choose to use.  For more information, please visit nickels.us.

InTouch Credit Union Partners with Nickels to Take on High Interest Card Debt

Author Erin Petro
Read time 3 minutes read time

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (July 20th, 2023) – Nickels, the fintech focused on helping credit unions improve credit card health for members, today announced a new partnership with InTouch Credit Union, a financial cooperative focused on creating member value.  The partnership will enhance the overall experience for members with a specific focus on helping them lower their  high-interest credit card debt.

Nickels will help InTouch Credit Union identify members who are carrying unpaid balances on major credit cards and help them shift that debt from high interest cards onto lower-interest loan products.  This unique approach of reaching members at the right time to address a costly debt category is proven to help them save money by avoiding high loan interest and fee charges.

“Credit card debt in our country is the highest it’s ever been, setting new records each month.  Partnering with Nickels allows us to address pressing issues that impact our members’ overall financial health.  And it allows us to highlight products we have that can improve our members’ financial situations and save them money. “  said Kent Lugrand, President and CEO of InTouch Credit Union. “We’re excited about the opportunity to build out programs that will help each member’s specific financial needs.”

Nickels will use its Checking Account Analysis product to create customized analysis of members card payment behaviors, enabling InTouch to target the right products for each member segment, such as focusing refinancing third-party credit card debt, promoting their own lower-rate lending products for light revolvers, and promoting their high-yield savings rate products. 

“Our partnership will help InTouch expand beyond only targeting heavy revolvers so they can offer their members the most helpful products via targeted campaigns during a time when members’ needs are increasingly different.,” said Joseph Gracia, CEO of Nickels. “Nickels is committed to partnering with credit unions to help them achieve their missions of helping members improve their financial health.”

In coming months, Nickels will use their analysis capabilities to help credit unions build deposits amongst their membership base.

Nickels is now helping InTouch and credit unions across the United States help more than 1 million members take control of their credit card health.  For additional  information on how targeted debt refinancing can help credit union members, read more.

About InTouch Credit Union

InTouch Credit Union (ITCU) is a financial cooperative that has proudly served members since 1974. ITCU is committed to creating member value by placing the financial needs and delivery of exceptional service to the membership ahead of profit while maintaining fiscal responsibility. With branches in three states, and assets of more than $1 billion, ITCU serves more than 90,000 members in all 50 states and more than 20 countries around the world. ITCU can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

About Nickels

Nickels is a CUSO that helps banks and credit unions take control over their consumers’ third-party credit card debt. Founded in Ann Arbor, MI, their mission is to improve consumers’ credit card health. They do this, in part, by identifying those that are credit card revolvers with the major banks and helping credit unions refinance that third-party credit card debt into their own lower interest products.  Nickels also offers Credit Card Coach, a white-label web app that redesigns the credit card experience to improve members credit card health, regardless of which credit cards they choose to use.  For more information, please visit nickels.us.

Important Characteristics of Third-Party Card Revolvers

Author Joseph
Read time 5 minutes read time

New Nickels Console Update Identifies Heavy Revolvers for Improved Targeting

With economic uncertainty all around us and credit card debt setting all-time records each month, consumers are looking to their primary financial institutions to help them manage their financial health and offer products and services that can help them on this journey.  Yet many financial institutions struggle to get this right.  That’s not a surprise; it’s a common marketing challenge to target the right consumer at the right time with the right message.

In an earlier blog, we showed how we’ve developed a reliable and repeatable process to identify which consumers are revolving on third-party credit card debt (i.e. using cards with Capital One, Citi, etc. and not paying their statement balances in full each month).  Targeting third-party card revolvers based on payment behaviors that are identifiable through checking account data can help banks and credit unions identify which consumers are the best candidates to refinance their revolving credit card debt. This is a win/win: it helps consumers save money by moving onto lower interest loan products, and helps financial institutions by adding new loans under management.

In our latest tests, we’ve dug even deeper into the revolving characteristics that make consumers the best candidates for refinancing third-party credit card debt.

Why Revolving Frequency & Recency Matters

We already knew that third-party card revolvers (i.e. those that are not paying their third-party card statement balances in full) refinance at a higher rate than other consumer groups. Beyond just identifying revolvers, our team has conducted additional analysis to better understand which segments of revolvers respond to what messaging, and why.

One key distinction is revolving frequency. Some consumers show signs of constantly revolving; their payment patterns indicate that they almost never pay their statement balance in full. We call these consumers “heavy revolvers.” Other consumers revolve less frequently, they use credit cards to bridge a financial gap a few months of the year, but pay their full statement balance in other months. We call these consumers “light revolvers.”

In a recent test, we looked more closely at revolving frequency. Do heavy revolvers respond to messaging differently than light revolvers?

Heavy Revolvers Refinance at a Higher Rate

We sent the same email campaign offering loan applications to both heavy and light revolvers and monitored their application and uptake rates for personal loans.

We learned that heavy revolvers refinance their third-party card debt at higher rates than light revolvers.  

Moreover, the recency of revolving (i.e. when the consumer last showed signs of revolving behavior) also correlates to being more receptive to offers to refinance their third-party credit card debt.

The Takeaway: Focus on Heavy, Recent Revolvers

While all third-party card revolvers were more responsive to loan refinance offers vs. other consumers at a financial institution, the analysis shows that heavy, recent revolvers take the most action and, therefore, have the highest propensity to refinance their revolving third-party card debt.  This group showed substantially higher loan application rates and higher funded loan rates. 

This deeper analysis of third-party card revolvers can help financial institutions like banks and credit unions more specifically target their consumers, focusing on those who are most likely to take action and refinance their third-party credit card debt.

Looking at data this way helps financial institutions:

  1. Prioritize their heavy, recent revolvers and target messaging that directly speaks to the needs of that consumer segment. For example, organizations can focus high-touch/resource driven marketing tactics like pre-approvals or outbound calling to recent, heavy revolvers to maximize marketing efficiency and ROI. 
  2. Create better consumer service experiences for other consumers by re-prioritizing refinance marketing campaigns based on frequency and recency of revolving behavior. We recommend sending multi-email campaigns to recent, heavy revolvers and recent light revolvers, and a single email to non-recent light revolvers.

Nickels Admin Console Now Identifies Frequent, Recent Revolvers

Nickels recently rolled out an updated admin console that allows financial institutions to see their third-party card revolvers (and transactors) on a monthly basis.  And the analysis now differentiates revolvers between light and heavy revolving characteristics.  This gives them the freshest information and insights on recency plus frequency. Nickels’ clients can use this data to pull monthly reports on revolving behavior to inform their ongoing marketing campaign’s content and cadence.

The updated admin console gives credit unions and banks insights to even better target their products and messaging around refinancing third-party credit card debt to the specific consumer segments that are most apt to respond to refinance offers.  Nickels also updated and refined our turnkey marketing campaign playbooks with messaging developed specifically for each consumer segment.

In the coming months we’ll be running additional tests and analysis for groups with other distinct card payment patterns, including those that are transacting on third-party credit cards (i.e. using cards provided by the major banks and paying their statement balances off in full each month).  We see opportunities to shift transacting card spend to our banks and credit union clients.

To learn more about how Nickels can help your financial institution analyze customer credit card data and target customers via customized marketing playbooks, email connect@nickels.us.

$4m in Refinanced Members’ Credit Card Debt

Author Nickels
Read time 4 minutes read time

Nickels and Michigan State University FCU Case Study on Success in 30 Days

Revolving Credit is at an All-Time High in the US

Americans are experiencing the highest levels of credit card debt in nearly a decade and paying >$110B in interest and fees on credit cards each year.  Credit unions are also feeling the pain of higher interest rates and reduced deposits as their members spend down their accounts to pay bills, leaving credit unions with dwindling assets under management.

Case Study: Michigan State University Federal Credit Union

Michigan State University Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) is the largest university-based credit union in the world, with more than 330,000 members and $7B in assets. MSUFCU wanted to help members who were depleting their savings and carrying high revolving third-party credit card debt, but didn’t have the insights to run an email campaign targeted to members who could benefit most from offers that could convert debt into lower interest loans.

Identifying Revolvers and Targeting Personalized Outreach

Nickels helped MSUFCU identify which of their members had revolving third-party card debt by leveraging MSUFCU’s checking account data and identified that nearly 200K members  had paid over $1.75B in credit card payments over the past year. Nickels also identified: 

  • 35K members that showed strong signs of revolving through their card payment patterns
  • This equates to over $205M in revolving third-party card debt based on national average revolving balances.
  • This third-party card debt will cost members >$40M in interest and fees in 2023 alone. 
  • Identifying both the third-party credit card Transactors and Revolvers was the first step to understanding which members would benefit from which MSUFCU products.

Transactor vs Revolver: Knowing the Difference is Key

Transactor: Pays their credit card statement balance in full every month.

Revolver: Pays less than their credit card statement balance (at least periodically).

  • Credit unions know that over 50% of their members likely have revolving third-party credit card debt.
  • Yet, because >90% of this debt is held by the major banks and card providers, credit unions do not have visibility into this debt.
  • Credit reports do not show which credit union members are Transactors and which are Revolvers.

Creating a Plan to Help Members Pay Down Debt While Creating New Deposits

Nickels identified MSUFCU’s third-party card Revolvers and Transactors but that was only one part of the equation. Nickels then worked with MSUFCU to create email campaigns with targeted messaging and offers to test with MSUFCU Revolvers and Transactors. 

  • These offers were customized to help Revolvers pay down their revolving debt by converting it into lower interest loans or transferring balances onto 6-month interest-free lines of credit with MSUFCU. 
  • Communications were relevant in ensuring that members received emails and offers applicable to their credit situation. 
  • Nickels also created several variations of emails, text, and push campaigns to provide MSUFCU with simple and effective messages to drive action and produce strong results. 

Using a Nickels’ email campaign playbooks provide financial institutions with ready-to-send, targeted and behaviorally-based communications that drive refinance and engagement opportunities. These playbooks can easily be edited or adapted to the needs of the financial institution, and then placed into an existing content management system for streamlined outreach.

The Results

A single targeted email generated more than $4M+ in new personal loans and $6.5M in new card limits for MSUFCU in just 30 days. 

  • By only targeting a quarter of MSUFCU’s members based on checking account analysis, Nickels helped drive over 40% of their personal loans funded and nearly half of their new credit limits in a 30-day period. 
  • This leaves the other 75% of members free to receive other offers to help boost deposits.

Targeted Outreach Leads to Almost 2x Results

By targeting 28% of MSUFCU’s members, MSUFCU and Nickels were able to help drive 44% of their personal loans funded and nearly half (48%) of their new credit limits issued over 30 days.

Nickels helped MSUFCU successfully identify which members would benefit most from refinance options to manage their third-party credit card debt and designed targeted email campaigns that created new loans and business for MSUFCU within a 30-day window, creating a win/win for both members and the credit union’s bottom line.

To learn more about how Nickels can help your financial institution analyze customer credit card data and target customers via customized marketing playbooks, contact Pierce Sloan at pierce@nickels.us.

Download the Full Case Study via the Link Below