Tax-Free Weekend Good for Members, Good for CUs

Tax-Free Weekend Good for Members, Good for CUs

Tax-Free Weekend Good for Members, Good for CUs

The fastest-growing card portfolios are managed by teams that take a proactive and strategic approach to marketing. Tough competitors in the race for walletshare, these promotion warriors know that annual shopping holidays present one of the best opportunities to engage cardholders.

Aside from the usual suspects, like Black Friday, Cyber Monday (and increasingly, Amazon Prime Day), one particularly opportune spending holiday for credit card marketers is the tax-free weekend. Why? Because the average family with children in grades K-12 plans to spend about $675 on clothes, shoes, gadgets/devices and school supplies.

With the right campaign, credit union cards marketers stand an excellent chance of both earning those transactions and helping members save even more during what can be a financially stressful time.

Several U.S. states have hosted tax-free weekends for years. With school about to start, the idea is to ease the tax burden on residents while stimulating purchases on things like apparel, school supplies and similar items. Among the states that coordinated tax-free weekends this year was New Mexico, home to CO-OP client Nusenda Credit Union.

“Each year, we see a significant lift in portfolio balances during tax-free weekend,” said JJ Alcantar, Nusenda’s AVP of Card Services. “Our cards team definitely leverages the opportunity. We execute a variety of promotions, including an internal campaign, to remind members of the benefits that come from back-to-school shopping with their credit union debit and credit cards.”

In 2016, Alcantar’s team coordinated a credit card rewards campaign offering triple points and 5-percent cash back for purchases made during the tax-free weekend. The outcome was a significant boost in both number of transactions and purchase amounts.

To leverage the momentum built during last year’s holiday, the cards team again deployed rewards campaigns to inspire members to use their credit union debit and credit cards for back-to-school shopping August 4-6, 2017. The campaigns paid off, as Nusenda’s card portfolios saw year-over-year increases above 10 percent.

The total number of signature and PIN debit transactions made by Nusenda cardholders rose 11.9 percent, with an associated increase in volume of 12.7 percent. On the credit side of the coin, the number of transactions rose 11.8 percent, and volume was up an exciting 17.5 percent.

Alcantar encourages his credit union colleagues in other states with tax-free holidays to take advantage of the win-win opportunity presented by the special days. “Adding rewards on top of tax savings is great for our members, just as the increased portfolio performance is great for the credit union,” said Alcantar.

Consider planning now for a campaign around a tax-free holiday or weekend in 2018. Rewarding stressed parents during back-to-school spending time is a perk that will never go out of style.