Credit Union Credit Cards: a Threat to Big Banks?
by. Maryalene LaPonsie
While they may not put the major credit card issuers out of business anytime soon, credit unions are convincing more of their members to carry union-issued plastic.
Callahan & Associates, a financial consulting firm, released a report last month that found that credit card penetration rates at credit unions reached 15.3 percent in 2013. That number is 55 basis points greater than 2012 levels and 95 basis points more than five years ago.
But while the overall gains are modest, the report notes that some individual credit unions claim credit card penetration rates of up to 65 percent, suggesting that unions that emphasize credit cards could make major gains in the future. Still, some industry analysts question whether credit unions are willing to offer cards that truly rival those offered by major banks.
Credit unions that have succeeded with credit cards
For credit unions, credit card market penetration refers to the number of members who have a credit union-issued card. For example, the industry average of 15 percent means that 15 of every 100 credit union members have a credit card affiliated with their institution.continue reading »