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Credit Card Promotion Ideas To Drive Card Portfolio Growth

Rebecca Gwaltney
April 6, 2021

It's no surprise that as our members and customers cope with uncertainty, their spending habits and desire to open a new credit card may be less than typical. That being said, we need to remember that even through the chaos, our members and customers still used credit cards, even if they did reduce discretionary spending and their overall credit card balance.

How can your Credit Union or Bank stay competitive among the overwhelming credit card offers flooding in from the competition? Here are a few effective credit card marketing ideas you can implement today to boost card placement.

Credit Card Marketing Ideas For Indirect Members and Customers

Indirect loan holders, or "Rate Shoppers," may come off as an impossible target for a credit card cross-sell. Is it possible for your Credit Union or Bank staff to deepen the relationship with these indirect loan holders? Absolutely! These types of consumers are ideal candidates for a credit card cross-sell offer because all you have to do is beat their current offer and they will switch! After all, isn't that how you acquired them in the first place?

Woman Holding Credit Card Shopping on LaptopWhile you still have their credit report in front of you, approve them for your credit card and make the offer. Notice I didn't say "pre-approve", or "pre-qualify". Simply approve them. If you've just approved them for a multi-thousand dollar indirect auto loan or boat loan, there shouldn't be any reason why you wouldn’t approve them for a credit card.

Reach out via email or phone, and let them know they're already approved.

This strategy works not only for indirect loans, it's perfect for all members or customers getting a loan who don't have a credit card with you. If it isn't a standard part of your loan process, it should be!

Related: 12 Decisive Steps to Grow Your Financial Institution [FREE eBook] 

No Credit Card Rewards or Points For a Promotion? No Problem!

OK, so your card doesn't offer fancy rewards and points. Where do you go from here?

Marketing Idea 1: Promote What the Big Credit Card Companies Don’t Have

Promote your amazing service and commitment to helping your members and customers succeed. Alright, I know that it's tough to say that customer service will differentiate you from a crowd of credit card marketing offers, but let’s check out the facts.


According to J.D. Power research shared via The Financial Brand, consumers have been disappointed with credit card programs during the pandemic and the biggest downfall has been the poor customer service, problem resolution and overall interactions.

Wait, what? Customer service matters? Talk about the perfect “in” for your staff to get confident in their cross-selling efforts. It's worth taking the time to make the offer.

Marketing Idea 2: Position your Low Rate Credit Card as the End Goal

Couple Shopping on Laptop with Credit CardEducate your Credit Union members and Bank customers that the end goal for financial freedom is to be in control of their credit card spending. Advise them to consolidate their competitors credit cards onto your low rate credit card and pay no balance transfer fee.

Illustrate how that's a financially savvy money management technique, making them feel smart for their decision. Enroll them in an educational on-boarding workflow that includes articles and guides explaining debt-to-income factors and what over-extended lines of credit do to their credit score so they can make adjustments to how they manage their spending.

You are there for guidance and to get them closer to their financial goals. Never feel bad about offering them a product to help them achieve success faster.

Have Credit Card Rewards and Points For a Promotion?

Use FOMO to Boost Conversions!

In a 2019 session at The Financial Brand Forum several tips for more effective marketing tactics were shared. Among them was the fact that people will work harder to not lose something than they will to gain it.

People will work harder to not lose something than they will to gain it.

That's why the fear of missing out (FOMO) is such a powerful motivator.

Woman on Laptop Thinking

If you have a rewards/points program for your credit card, you'll need to point out to people what they're missing out on to inspire them to take action. Notifying them that last quarter they missed out on X dollars or points by not having your card will be more of a motivator than trying to coerce them into adding another rewards card to their wallet by promoting its features.

If you don't have an exact number for the individual, talk about the average rewards earned by others for the last quarter and emphasize that they're missing out on the action!

Related: 12 Decisive Steps to Grow Your Financial Institution [FREE eBook] 

Credit Card Promotions Won't Work With Barriers To Entry

No matter which promotion you're running, if applying for your card is a lengthy or cumbersome process you'll have limited success. Plain and simple, you must remove any unnecessary barriers in the application and approval process. Because your competitors are approving credit cards in seconds from every device type, the consumer is now expecting this experience and considering it to be the norm. Strive to deliver a seamless, experience that makes getting your card easy.

Promote Your Credit Card Program...A Lot

Your customers and members are seeing a lot of credit card offers right now. It can be a tricky balance trying to figure out the perfect marketing budget and strategy to hit your strategic goals, but if credit cards are on your list of products to grow, repetition is key.

The general rule is that prospective buyers typically need to hear or see your marketing message AT LEAST seven times before they even consider taking action.

Take email marketing for example. Some of us are shy sending one or two emails per week but check out these stats from Jay Schwedelson’s presentation “Do This, Not That: All New Email Tips for Q2” from Worldata.com.

The data shows that sending about 4 emails per week is the sweet spot when it comes to getting the highest open rates.

email maketing recommended frequency

Keep this in mind as you develop plans for promoting your credit card marketing ideas, and if you need some help planning your digital marketing strategy do not hesitate to reach out!

12 Decisive Steps to Grow Your Institution

Simply broadcasting your services isn't enough. Read this eBook or download your own copy to find out how you're missing the mark and what to do to change NOW!

FI GROW 12 steps to growth e-book

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