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Credit Union Credit Cards On the Rise

August 22nd, 2013 · No Comments · Credit Cards

by Kristy Welsh

(Last Updated On: February 26, 2018)
Are you a member of a credit union? Do they offer a credit card program? If so, do you have one of their credit cards? Why or why not?

Are you a member of a credit union? Do they offer a credit card program? If so, do you have one of their credit cards? Why or why not?

While nearly half of credit unions do not offer credit cards, those that do are seeing some rather notable growth.  MoneyRates.com reports that credit card penetration rates at credit unions is 15.3 percent. While this may not sound like much, it is a notable increase over previous years.

Financial consulting firm Callahan & Associates released a report last month of credit card penetration rates among credit unions. The penetration rate refers to the percentage of credit union members who also hold credit union credit cards. This year’s 15.3 percent penetration is 55 basis points over 2012 and a whopping 95 basis points above penetration five years ago.

As though the average growth of their credit card programs is not impressive enough, some credit unions have penetration rates of more than 50 percent, and as high as 65.

That said, is this growth significant enough to suggest that credit unions can compete against big banks in the credit card market? Only a little more than half of credit unions have credit card programs. And thus far, their incentives evidently pale in comparison to big bank cards. Experts say competing in the credit card market would mean needing to offer zero-interest teaser rates and rewards programs more attractive than those of big banks, or at least equally so.

Are you a member of a credit union? Do they offer a credit card program? If so, do you have one of their credit cards? Why or why not?

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