Introducing CardFit: Member Acquisition, Credit Card Growth, & Community Savings!

Author Harrison Neuert
Read time 2 minutes read time

Last week, Nickels hosted a webinar led by Harrison Neuert, Director of Product Management, to unveil CardFit – the latest innovation from Nickels. CardFit shows community members when they’ll be better off on a local credit union’s credit card and brings in new members for the credit union.

At its core, CardFit provides simple, unbiased credit card comparisons that are tailored to the way people pay.  Nearly half of American cardholders sometimes carry a balance from one statement to-the-next. For these cardholders, the savings on a lower rate credit union card far outweigh the rewards they could earn on a big bank card.  

CardFit compares a local credit union’s cards with common big bank cards to help community members waste less money on credit card debt.

Watch the webinar below to learn more about how CardFit could help your community.

Contact Nickels to find out how CardFit can help you acquire new members and save your community money.

About Nickels

Nickels is a CUSO that helps credit unions compete on credit cards. Founded in Ann Arbor, Michigan, their mission is to improve Americans’ credit card health. They help cardholders waste less money on credit card debt by shifting cardholders from high interest, big bank, credit cards to lower rate credit union products.

VentureTech Podcast!

Author Erin Petro
Read time 3 minutes read time

At VentureTech 2023, Nickels CEO Joseph Gracia sat down with Joshua Barclay and Jonathan Taylor to discuss the US credit card market and how credit unions can compete on credit cards.  Listen to the podcast below:

Highlights from the conversation:

Americans are brainwashed into thinking that credit cards are about rewards, when the truth is that over half the cardholders in our country revolve and the cost of their cards far outweigh the rewards they’re earning.

The top 15 banks, which control over 90% of the card market, win when we focus on rewards.  In reality, they’re paying $40B out in rewards while charging $130B in interest and fees.

Credit unions have better credit cards for those who revolve, which is more than half of all cardholders.  Our solution identifies members that are revolving on competitor credit cards and gives credit unions the tools to engage those members.  This not only saves members money but also facilitates the growth of credit union card portfolios.

As a member, you may not be aware of our existence, but you’ll notice a shift towards more personalized and relevant messaging. For instance, if you’re revolving on a Chase credit card, instead of receiving communications about growing deposits, you’ll start getting marketing focused on how much you could save by switching to the credit union card. We operate behind the scenes, providing analytics and white-label marketing support to credit unions, ensuring they have the information to send targeted messages at the right time. Our goal is to enhance the credit union-member relationship by helping members save money and aiding credit unions in growing their credit card business efficiently.

We’re getting batch files from the core. For example, we’re part of Jack Henry’s Vendor Integration Program, which means that there’s a pre-built report that pulls the data we need to run our analysis. Our analysis runs monthly. This regular flow keeps the credit unions updated on how their members behave with competitor cards. Picture us as the newfound best friends of marketing VPs and card portfolio managers. In a world where constant card-focused marketing is crucial, we streamline insights and action so the marketing teams can have ongoing, personalized engagement with their members.

Our credit union partners are getting impressive results. Take Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, for example. In the first half of 2023, we helped them refinance $11 million in competitor credit card debt into personal loans, while issuing $13.4 million in new credit limits on their own cards. The segments we identify consistently apply at higher rates and are approved at higher rates than their general population.. The impact is clear and substantial. 

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 Joins Jack Henry Vendor Integration Program

Author Erin Petro
Read time 2 minutes read time

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (October 12th, 2023) – Nickels, a fintech that helps banks and credit unions grow deposits, cross sell credit cards, shift spend to their cards, and refinance consumers’ competitor card debt has joined the Jack Henry Vendor Integration Program. This integration will enable a more seamless and secure experience for Nickels’ credit union and bank partners.

With this partnership, Nickels gains access to technical resources that will help power their Checking Account Analysis, an integrated, secure analysis of competitor card payment behaviors that identifies target audience segments. Based on this ongoing analysis, Nickels triggers personalized campaigns to help consumers in need of lower-cost options to high-interest debt.

“Our top priority is making it easy for credit unions and banks to better serve their consumers,” said Joseph Gracia, CEO of Nickels. “Joining the Jack Henry Vendor Integration program will help our credit union and bank partners simplify and accelerate the integration process, so that they can quickly, seamlessly, and securely roll out deep consumer analysis and data-based, personalized campaigns.”

About Nickels

Nickels is a fintech that helps banks and credit unions grow deposits, cross sell credit cards, shift spend to their cards, and refinance consumers’ competitor card debt. Founded in Ann Arbor, MI, their mission is to improve consumers’ credit card health. They do this, in part, by analyzing consumers’ behavior with competitor cards and providing custom campaigns for each priority segment identified. Nickels also offers Credit Card Coach, a white-label web app that redesigns the credit card experience to improve consumers credit card health, regardless of which credit cards they choose to use.  For more information, please visit

About Jack Henry

Jack Henry is a well-rounded financial technology company that strengthens connections between financial institutions and the people and businesses they serve. We are a S&P 500 company that prioritizes openness, collaboration, and user centricity – offering banks and credit unions a vibrant ecosystem of internally developed modern capabilities as well as the ability to integrate with leading fintechs. For more than 47 years, Jack Henry has provided technology solutions to enable clients to innovate faster, strategically differentiate, and successfully compete while serving the evolving needs of their accountholders. We empower approximately 7,500 clients with people-inspired innovation, personal service, and insight-driven solutions that help reduce the barriers to financial health. Additional information is available at   

Employee Spotlight: A Conversation with Harrison Neuert, Director of Product Management at Nickels

Author Erin Petro
Read time 4 minutes read time

As we innovate to help millions of Americans improve their financial health, we’re privileged to have Harrison Neuert as our Director of Product Management at Nickels. With a background rooted in behavioral science, Harrison brings a product and innovation perspective to Nickels. He’s driven by a passion for data science, qualitative research, experimentation, and design thinking, but above all else, he thrives on fostering collaboration within our talented teams to make our products better. Join me as I sit down with Harrison for this month’s employee spotlight to learn more about his background, and what insights he’s gathered from his time at Nickels.

What inspired you to join or brought you to work at Nickels?

My background is in Economics and Behavioral Science. I spent 5+ years working at ideas42, a behavioral science design lab that served as an incubator for Nickels. While there, I worked on a lot of Financial Health products.

So much of the work I did at ideas42 was around how to help people navigate complex financial institutions to do more of what they want with their money. I saw time and again how expensive debt, especially credit card debt, really hindered peoples’ financial goals. Being able to work with Nickels on a product that connects people with the kind of financial products that can actually support their goals was really exciting to me.

What is the most exciting project or activity you’re working on now–and why?

My role is really varied: some days I spend working with designers to turn our vision for the product into something concrete. Other days I’m more focused on collaborating with our Engineering team to make sure that they have the direction they need to build the most impactful features. And there’s lots of other stuff too!

But the most exciting part of this job for me is getting to work directly with our customers to test things out. We have multiple innovation projects in the works right now where customers are testing new approaches to running our analysis and campaigns, and we get to find out what works together. Being able to test things in a rigorous way and then apply that at scale in the product is what gets me really excited.

What have been some of the most important lessons you’ve learned throughout your career?

Understanding the impacts of scarcity on decision making has been really important. People with low incomes are extremely savvy decision makers, but the costs of navigating decisions about finances with almost no room for error are really high. Using this understanding as a starting point for design work around financial services is truly transformative.

If you were not working at Nickels, where would you be? (could be a place, another type of company, industry, hobby, etc.)

I love to cook and eat, and feel most at home in a kitchen. I never quite figured out how to make that into a career that I actually wanted to have in the long term, though!

What would your perfect weekend look like?

Going to my local farmers market on Saturday, seeing a movie with friends, going to the beach, and cooking a big meal on Sunday evening.

Do you have any interesting hobbies or activities or accolades? Is there anything from that experience you bring to your role at Nickels?

In the past year I’ve gotten back into film photography, which is something I haven’t done since high school. I always have a roll of film on the go, and I’ve come to love the process of developing and scanning my own negatives.

Stay tuned for more employee spotlights as we continue to introduce you to the amazing individuals driving innovation and making a difference at Nickels daily. 

Nickels Employee Spotlight: Meet Alex – The Talented UX Design Intern Making Waves at Nickels

Author Erin Petro
Read time 3 minutes read time

As the summer continues to fly by, it’s time for our much-anticipated Employee Spotlight blog post! This month, we shine the spotlight on Alex Brand, our exceptional UX Design Intern. Coming to us from the University of Michigan, Alex has brought a fresh perspective to our team. He’s driven by the desire to make a positive impact on people’s lives through his work and is passionate about accessibility and being a mediator between products and their users. So let’s dive in and learn more as Alex shares insights into his journey at Nickels.

Do you have any interesting hobbies or activities or accolades? Is there anything from that experience you bring to your role at Nickels?

I’m a very creative person with an artistic soul. I enjoy a lot of different hands-on activities like knitting, textile weaving, drawing and painting.

What would your perfect weekend look like?

Friday night dinner at my favorite restaurant, Detroit Street Filling Station, it’s a must-try if you’re ever in the Ann Arbor area. Saturday afternoon kayaking down the Huron River. Finished off on Sunday with brunch and movies on the couch.

What is something you are most proud of?

I make the best vegan white bean chili. Seriously, everyone should try it.

What inspired you to join or brought you to work at Nickels?

As I was finishing up my prereqs at Washtenaw Community College in Spring 2022, I applied to the Michigan Stem summer internship program that Nickels participated in. When I did my research for the interview, I immediately felt connected to the company’s socially responsible approach to credit card health. After a successful interview with Joseph, I happily accepted the internship offer. Now I’m thrilled to be invited back this Summer, and fully enjoying the opportunity to work with Nickels once again.

What is most interesting/exciting about working at a fintech like Nickels?

I get to work on projects that connect with multiple aspects of the business. As a UX designer, my primary tasks involve product work, UX recommendations, and UI design. But I also get to work on marketing, social media, and other design related projects. Additionally, the mentors I have with Nickels are respectful, open minded, and treat me like a valuable asset to the business. 

What is the most exciting project or activity you’re working on now–and why?

I’ve been partnered with Nickels’ Director of Project Management to work on new designs for our Admin Console. This is probably one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever worked on with a lot of complex thought problems around what data we show, how we show it, and then how we make that data valuable to our clients. What I’ve liked most is that this project requires me to collaborate with developers to learn about design feasibility and needs requirements. I’m learning a lot this Summer.

What have been some of the most important lessons you’ve learned throughout your career?

The relationships you build are priceless.

Finally, what do you think are the most important skills interns need to have?

Humility, the ability to ask questions, and to not be afraid to give pushback. I’ve learned a lot from my Project Manager and design mentor because of my insistence on asking too many questions and making my opinion heard. It’s all about communication and reciprocity.

Stay tuned for more employee spotlights as we continue to introduce you to the amazing individuals driving innovation and making a difference at Nickels daily. 

Nickels Joins BECU FinTech Incubator Program, Powered by CoMotion Labs and BECU

Author Erin Petro
Read time 4 minutes read time

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (July 10th, 2023) – Nickels today announced acceptance into the BECU FinTech Incubator, powered by CoMotion Labs and BECU, Washington’s largest credit union. The BECU Fintech Incubator Program serves as a launchpad for emerging fintech companies, providing them with the necessary resources, mentorship, and guidance to thrive in the competitive financial technology landscape. Nickels was selected as one of three companies for the 2023 cohort, which will start in July and run for one year.

“We are thrilled to be part of the BECU Fintech Incubator program where we will collaborate with one of the country’s largest credit unions to accelerate our work in helping credit unions take control of member’s third-party credit card debt,” said Joseph Gracia, CEO of Nickels. “BECU’s commitment to financial health and the accelerator’s expertise will further hone our product offerings to improve members’ credit card health while enhancing credit unions’ profitability in the process.”

Nickels brings a unique offering to the credit union movement by analyzing payment patterns in checking account data, identifying third-party card revolvers, and then targeting those members with personalized marketing to offer debt refinancing. To date, Nickels has helped credit union members refinance more than $15 million in third-party credit card debt.

“As a not-for-profit credit union, BECU is committed to improving the financial well-being of our members and their communities,” said Mike Zell, BECU’s senior vice president of Digital. “Nickels’ efforts to improve consumer credit card health and raise credit scores is commendable and aligns with our goal of helping individuals achieve financial freedom. We look forward to supporting Nickels with this important work and seeing how they will grow during the program.”

Through this program, Nickels will aim to enhance their product offerings, introduce new features, and further optimize the overall experience for credit unions and their members.

Nickels remains dedicated to its core mission to work with credit unions to redesign the credit card experience and improve credit card health. The work Nickels is doing with credit card debt can easily translate into other debt categories and Nickels’ long-term vision is to help members manage debt better with easier and more seamless personalized digital debt management tools.

As part of the accelerator cohort, Nickels will gain access to a network of industry experts, strategic partnerships, and cutting-edge technology, empowering the company to push boundaries and drive positive change.

The reputation and reach of both BECU and the University of Washington along with accelerator programming, resources and influence will help Nickels continue to grow and thrive in the competitive financial technology landscape.

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

About CoMotion Labs

CoMotion Labs provides a multi-industry incubation environment for early-stage startups. They welcome startups from both inside and outside the UW community. From critical infrastructure to learning, mentoring, and networking, CoMotion Labs nurtures and enables success, helping them to grow without taking equity. The labs operate in three incubators on the UW Seattle campus, each focusing on a particular industry sector.

Nickels Employee Spotlight: Meet Devin – Building Products with Purpose

Author Erin Petro
Read time 4 minutes read time

Meet Devin Jackson, Nickels newest Senior Software Engineer

In this month’s employee spotlight, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Devin Jackson, a valued member of the Nickel’s engineering team. With over 5 years of experience building products, Devin brings a unique perspective and passion for unlocking hidden potential. Let’s dive into our interview to learn more about Devin and his journey at Nickels thus far. 

How would you describe yourself using only three words?

Light-hearted, hard-working, and food-minded.

If you had a tagline what would it be? 

I’m hungry.

What is one thing you couldn’t live without?

YouTube (judge me if you like).

What is something you are most proud of?

I’m most proud of the non-profit I built for my community called We Build Black. Our mission at We Build Black is to empower the Black community to achieve socio-economic change through technical education and professional development. Redefining what it means to belong in the tech industry is really important to me, and I’m excited to be a part of the journey to find a solution. You can learn more about We Build Black at

What brought you to work at Nickels?

The idea of building a product from the ground up. Working at a start-up is a hustle, and I’m always ready to roll up my sleeves and get cracking. Also, Nickels harnesses a team culture that encourages ownership and growth, and that was apparent to me when talking to the team during the interview process. 

What is the most exciting project or activity you’re working on now–and why?

I’m currently focused on building out a message queue system that will allow Nickels to process large amounts of data from our clients more efficiently. This project is particularly exciting because optimizing a system’s resources to create a better product has alway been interesting to me, especially when I can leverage cutting-edge tools.

What do you think is the most important skill that someone in your role needs to have?

The most important skill someone in my role needs is to have the desire to own a project and see it through to completion. Taking ownership fosters accountability and growth and that continues to be a priority at Nickels. 

What have been some of the most important lessons you’ve learned throughout your career?

First, you have to keep constant communication with the team about what you’re working on so as to not cause any stops in the workflow. The engineering team at Nickels has implemented daily stand-ups to help us stay connected as a team, and foster collaboration. 

Additionally, I would also say to never stop learning. I’ve attended many schools and bootcamps, and I will never stop. As long as there is information to attain and mentors to help nurture that skill set, I will continue to grow my knowledge base. 

If you were not working at Nickels, where would you be? 

I’d love to run my own tech company, maybe something in AI or blockchain. The opportunity to shape the future through innovative technologies has always been an aspiration of mine.

Devins commitment to building products, dedication to personal growth, and his passion for empowering his community is truly inspiring. We’re grateful to have him as part of the Nickels team, and we look forward to witnessing his continued success and impact on the company, and for our clients. 

Stay tuned for more employee spotlights as we continue to introduce you to the amazing individuals driving innovation and making a difference at Nickels daily. 

Meeting Customers Where They Are

Author Joseph
Read time 6 minutes read time

How a Highly Targeted Campaign Reduced the Cost of Consumer Debt While Adding Profitable Short-Term Loans

Banks and credit unions are seeing the steepest decline of deposits in the last decade, and the Fed is anticipating a recession by the end of 2023. Financial institutions need to find ways to engage their consumers but the economy has been tough, leading many to turn to their high interest/high fee credit cards to make ends meet.

Is there anything that financial institutions can do to increase their deposits, while also helping customers manage mounting debt? One overlooked path to increasing deposits for a key segment of any consumer base is by reducing one of the costliest forms of debt – revolving high-interest credit card balances.  

With over 90% of this debt sitting with the 15 major banks, other financial institutions have an opportunity to improve their consumers’ financial health by lowering their interest rates through loan consolidations.  This can quickly boost the financial institution’s assets under management with highly profitable, short-term loans, and also create pathways to create new deposits if customers use the savings from interest and fees to open new savings accounts. But the targeting and order of offers to customers is important for success.

Said another way, marketing focused on increasing deposits  to a consumer segment that is revolving on third-party credit card debt will be largely ineffective. Those revolvers are already paying  20%+ interest on their revolving credit card debt so a savings offer will be meaningless to them until that pain point is resolved. Those consumers should first be targeted with a message and product about saving money on interest and fees via debt consolidation. Nickels recently used this segmentation approach and created a targeted, tailored marketing campaign that increased deposits within a 30 day time frame for one of the country’s largest credit unions.

Creating Value for Existing Consumers Can Grow Loan Portfolios and Unlock the Ability to Start Saving

With inflation hitting most household budgets, people that didn’t have huge financial cushions were turning to high interest credit cards to make ends meet. The credit union knew they had members that were paying high interest and fees on third-party credit card debt; they just didn’t know which ones.  The credit union knew that third-party credit card debt was a meaningful cost category as their members had paid nearly $2B to the major card providers in the past year alone.

Nickels has a proprietary approach to help financial institutions identify which consumers are revolving on their third-party card debt and paying high-interest charges and fees.  This helps financial institutions quickly shift their marketing strategy to target this critical segment who would most benefit from refinancing revolving debt into lower-interest products instead of a blanket ask of customers to open new deposit accounts. 

First, Nickels identified the credit union’s third-party revolvers and transactors via a Checking Account analysis, but that was just the first step. Next, Nickels developed a marketing playbook that included an email with targeted messaging and offers applicable to each segments’ specific credit card situation.

Developing the Campaign to Reach the Right Segments

To maximize marketing ROI, the credit unions’ marketing team wanted to understand how the third-party revolvers and transactors responded to different offers. The offers were customized to help members pay down their revolving debt by converting it into lower interest loans or opening a new, lower interest rate, line of credit.  

The third-party revolver and transactor audiences were broken out into four separate groups, and Nickels helped the credit union run an A/B test. 

Each group received either a debt consolidation loan offer, or a Visa Platinum offer. 

  • This test provided insight into what offer resonated with the individual groups, and further proved out the effectiveness of the checking account analysis.
  • Nickels provided several variations of emails, text and push campaigns to simply and effectively drive action and produce strong results. 

Learnings: Proof that Targeting the Right Product Matters

Promoting personal loans increases personal loans across both groups, and similarly, promoting a credit card increases credit card applications across both groups. This may be obvious and expected.

However, third-party card revolvers applied for a personal loan at a higher rate than a credit card even when they received a credit card offer. 

Similarly, third-party card transactors applied for a new credit card at a higher rate than a personal loan even when they were sent a marketing email about personal loans.

Third-party card transactors applied for the credit union’s credit card at higher rates even when they were offered a debt consolidation loan in the outbound email.

The takeaway here is somewhat intuitive: communicating the right product to the right group creates the optimal fit for the customer, and optimal lift for the financial institution. Marketing products that aim to increase a consumers’ deposits will only be effective if it’s a product that serves the consumers’ needs.  For a significant segment of customers, the key is to lower their cost of debt BEFORE they get any offers about savings/deposits.

Nickels Email Campaign:  Targeted for Success

Refinancing debt into new lower interest loans is a win/win:  it helps increase assets under management and helps customers save from paying steep interest and fees from third-party credit card debt. This could even create new deposits when those savings are used to open new accounts. However, financial institutions need to know which customers are targets for debt refinancing, and of that group, which are likely to open or add deposits to their accounts.

Nickels’ Checking Account Analysis helps financial institutions identify which segment of their consumer base has the highest propensity for a debt refinance offer, and then provides Marketing Playbook with ready-to-send, targeted and behaviorally-based communications that drive refinance and engagement opportunities for those consumers. 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. 

Promoting a specific product to a qualified audience can significantly drive engagement and loan applications that give consumers a way to consolidate their debt or take on lower interest rates debt during a time when every dollar counts. 

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

Nickels and Inclusiv Partner to Help Credit Union Members Reduce High-Cost Third-Party Credit Card Debt

Author Nickels
Read time 2 minutes read time

Inclusiv, the national network of Community Development Credit Unions (CDCUs) is partnering with Nickels to help credit unions better serve their members by reducing interest and fees on credit card debt. Americans are paying more than $110 billion to the largest credit card issuers in interest and fees on credit card debt alone.

With the partnership Inclusiv members will get discounted access to Nickels’ Checking Account Analysis and Credit Card Coach products, which can be used by credit unions to analyze their member’s checking account data to identify which members are paying the major card providers and then analyze the payment patterns from each member to each card provider to infer who is revolving on third-party credit card debt. Using this analysis, Nickels then creates tailored marketing playbooks for credit unions to help members refinance their debt into lower interest loans, ultimately growing the credit union’s most profitable loan portfolio while saving members money in avoided interest and fees. 

“Credit cards are, dollar for dollar, one of the costliest debt categories in the country, and the high cost of this debt decreases the financial opportunities for credit union members. Nickels’ mission is to empower credit unions to take control of their members’ credit card debt. Joining forces with Inclusiv will help us to tackle this problem for even more Americans and help people improve their financial health.” 

Joseph Gracia, CEO of Nickels.

Nickels has helped more than ten credit unions and banks refinance millions of dollars in members’ third-party card debt. Recently, one Inclusiv credit union successfully targeted just over a quarter of its members and refinanced over $4m in personal loans in 30 days.  

“Our partnership with Nickels is another way Inclusiv is creating opportunities for our member CDCUs to better serve their community members, especially those who are being crushed by the weight of high fees and interest from revolving third-party credit card debt. Through Nickels’ innovative Checking Account Analysis product, our member credit unions can expand access to safe and affordable financial products in a highly targeted and efficient way.”

Peter Rubenstein, VP of Technology, Innovation and Analytics at Inclusiv

To learn more about this partnership and how Inclusiv members can access their discount, email