Online Cash-Back Offers
by Karen Bankston
America First Credit Union tries to keep cards top of wallet
At America First Credit Union, “growing payments and loans are our two strategic objectives for the year,” says Mike Salerno, VP/e-services for the $5.5 billion, 600,000-member Ogden, Utah, credit union. “We want members to keep using our debit and credit cards as their preferred payment tools.”
As a key tactic to keep its cards top of wallet, America First CU signed on with Cardlytics in early November to offer members cash-back incentives to shop at participating merchants. Members see the offers when they sign in to access their credit union accounts online, and their accumulated rewards are deposited to their checking accounts at month end. Salerno says this approach offers several advantages:
- The incentive payments are a highly visible value for members, especially at a time when interest rates on deposit accounts are so low. “Say members are getting $30 back in rewards—that’s a pretty substantial return,” he notes.
- Increased website traffic provides additional marketing opportunities. When members sign in to view what offers they have and what they’ve earned, they’re also viewing offers for auto loans and other services.
- Cardlytics partners with both national chains and local merchants for its offers, so America First CU can promote the program to its business members as a way to connect with new customers. The credit union has about 20,000 business accounts.
Member response has been positive, Salerno says. Fewer than 1 percent of America First CU’s 350,000 members enrolled in online banking have opted out of the program, and the activation and redemption rates are much higher than projections. Its activation rate (loading the offer onto the debit or credit card) is extremely competitive compared to others in the Cardlytics channel, and actual redemption rates are at nearly 60 percent, he says.continue reading »