When unexpected events happen, people need to be creative and flexible, but they also need a secure place to stand. In many ways, credit unions are that place for their members. Credit unions regularly connect with members, helping them find solutions to financial needs as they work to achieve life goals. When uncertain times bring financial challenges for members, credit unions are well-positioned to help make a credit card program an effective part of the solution for moving forward.
1 – Buying Essentials – According to MarketWatch, credit processors have been observing higher levels of online buying as more people are ordering food and other essentials online. This is also a time when many people are living on a more limited income and may need to pay for unexpected emergency expenses on credit. Yet, at the same time, many credit card companies have been cutting credit limits. Credit unions know their members. This is an opportunity for them to reach out to their members and work with their credit processing partner to ensure their members have the credit limits they need to continue making essential purchases.
2 – Easier Fund Management – Emergency expenses and sudden income losses might be causing some members to struggle with paying down new and old debt. Consolidating credit card debt onto one card can make managing it easier and less stressful for members. Now is a good time for credit unions to offer a balance transfer option to their members. Your credit union has the opportunity to show members you are there for them. Let members know you’re available to assist them in creating a plan to get out of debt so they can be ready to start saving instead.
3 – Give Members a Break – Many credit card and other financial companies are assisting consumers at this time with relaxed payment schedules and waived late fees. You might consider offering similar options like a skip-a-pay promotion for members who may be struggling to catch up on their finances. Maintaining reward programs is also important to give members more value for what they spend on their cards.
The credit union difference and the relationships credit unions have with their members mean the most during times of financial challenge. By drawing on this connection, your credit union can help members use the convenient benefits of a credit card responsibly to help ease some of their stress as they work to move forward. Helping members is important, and sometimes credit unions can better serve members with the help of the right resources. To learn more about opportunities to help your credit union, click here.
Phil Seely is the Senior Director of Portfolio Development for LSC having since 2011. www.lsc.net