Tak­ing credit cards in-house has been a boon for Tech CU


Credit Union Journal - - Special Report - BY MICHAEL BARTLETT

TECH­NOL­OGY CREDIT UNION HAD A credit cards prob­lem.

The $2.4 bil­lion CU, based on San Jose, Calif., of­fered its plas­tic through a third-party ven­dor, and the pro­gram had sev­eral draw­backs. Two of the biggest is­sues were re­quir­ing mem­bers to ap­ply for a credit card sep­a­rately when open­ing an ac­count – which led to con­fu­sion and ex­tra steps – and dif­fi­culty get­ting ap­provals for ap­pli­ca­tions from new mem­bers to this coun­try or with thin credit files.

“This de­nied ac­cess when Tech CU would have ap­proved the ap­pli­ca­tions,” the credit union said.

So in Au­gust 2016, Tech CU be­gan of­fer­ing in-house credit cards. Based on mem­ber feed­back and re­search, the man­age­ment team knew more than half of Amer­i­can con­sumers hold their main credit card with their pri­mary fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion. Although many mem­bers use Tech CU as their PFI, the lack of a credit card com­po­nent was per­ceived as an “in­con­ve­nience.”

By of­fer­ing an in-house card, Tech CU said, it be­came pos­si­ble to give mem­bers a snap­shot of all of their fi­nances in one place, in­clud­ing de­pos- its, loans and credit cards. The new pro­gram also sim­pli­fied pay­ing bal­ances on­line or in-branch – some­thing mem­bers could not do through the third party – and cat­e­go­riz­ing credit card ex­pen­di­tures, and widened the breadth and depth of Tech CU’S prod­uct of­fer­ings.

To cre­ate the per­fect in-house credit card, Tech CU said it looked at the data. A ma­jor­ity of its mem­bers trav­eled in­ter­na­tion­ally or were born out­side the U.S., so the credit card needed to of­fer zero for­eign trans­ac­tion fees and no an­nual fee. It also had to pro­vide auto rental col­li­sion ben­e­fits that res­onated well with its mem­bers’ needs. Ad­di­tional mem­ber re­quests in­cluded: re­ward points, the low­est in­ter­est rate pos­si­ble, good deals on bal­ance trans­fers, and build­ing credit or new to the coun­try op­tions.

Tech CU’S new credit cards are also Emv-chip en­abled, with a se­cure de­sign. This in­cludes the card num­ber be­ing listed on the back with only the card mem­ber’s name listed on the front, an as­pect that is de­signed to pro­vide ad­di­tional pro­tec­tion from pos­si­ble iden­tity theft or fraud.

Since the credit card launch in Au­gust 2016, the num­ber of peo­ple who have signed up has ex­ceeded Tech CU’S mar­ket­ing depart­ment’s goal by 41.3%.

“We are thrilled to have won a Best Prac­tices award for bring­ing our credit cards in-house,” Jean­nie Su­gaoka, SVP of sup­port ser­vices at Tech CU, told Credit Union Jour­nal. “It was a true cross-com­pany ef­fort. We could not have done it with­out the help of many through­out the or­ga­ni­za­tion. Ul­ti­mately, we now are able to of­fer a much bet­ter credit card ex­pe­ri­ence to our mem­bers, in­clud­ing quicker ap­provals, credit ap­provals for those who are new to the coun­try and an over­all higher stan­dard when it comes to ser­vic­ing.”

In 2016 Tech CU switched from a third-party ven­dor to an in-house credit cards pro­gram, and ap­pli­ca­tions are up dra­mat­i­cally.

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