Citi, mtvU Set Sights on Young Adult Market
NEW YORK - Credit unions beware -apparently the Citi never sleeps when it comes to targeting young adults. Citi cards has teamed up with mtvU to co-launch the Citi mtvU Platinum Select Visa Card for College Students. The partnership is a joint program where cardholders can save points for exclusive rewards such as tickets to the MTV Video Music Awards or tours of the mtvU Studios. In addition, under the Citi/mtvU campaign theme of "building good credit" Citi is rewarding students for not only getting good grades but also taking steps that help improve their credit scores such as paying their bills on time and paying more than the minimum monthly payment. The Web site also includes a "Credit 101" link, which covers topics ranging from the basics of credit to the dangers of falling into a credit card debt-trap. Exclusively geared toward college students, mtvU broadcasts to over 700 campuses and over six million students across the country. Bryan Sims, CEO of brass|MEDIA Inc., which specializes in helping credit unions connect with young adults, spotted the campaign early and says credit unions should be concerned. "This is biggest push for young adults and college students the financial sector has ever seen. With a brand like MTV issuing credit cards with Citi, the impact of this will be seen five or 10 years from now when credit unions have a big drop in borrowers-because the majority got their first credit card with Citi and MTV," said Sims. "It is the first nail in the coffin for credit unions if they don't wake up and change quickly." Sims offered the following tips that may help credit unions' young adult/college credit card program stand out from the competition: * Never turn someone down simply for "No Credit." On average, a negative experience will cause someone to relay their bad experience to seven people through word of mouth. * Automatically approve any applicant with no credit history up to a $500 limit. * Utilize credit-based lending practices with lower rates for high scores, and higher rates for low scores. For no credit, use a C-level level rating as a standard. * Allow automatic limit increases from $500 to $1,000 if an applicant provides a copy of a student ID, military ID or proof of employment. * For limits over $1,000, do one of the following: verify proof of employment, increase credit based on the length the card has been held, or have a co-signor. * Issue cards to 16 and 17 year olds with lower limits of $200 and $300. For higher limits, require a co-signor. * Reward cardholders for positive habits such as paying bills on-time, and paying more than the minimum monthly payment. * Reward cardholders for utilizing online banking, online bill pay, and e-statement features for reduced costs for the credit union, and increased activity of the member. * Reward members for maintaining high GPAs. *Do not have an annual fee. * Charge a $20 fee if the card is not used at least once per year. * Begin with 0% APR for the first six months and then begin charging interest.