So far in December, credit unions from California, Texas and South Dakota have taken steps to alert consumers in their areas about the benefits of their card programs over card offerings of the major bank card issuers. Traditionally, many credit unions have been slow to promote their card programs, whether from inexperience with marketing them or simply not thinking highly enough of them as credit union assets, CU card experts have said.
The $135 million Sioux Falls Federal Credit Union took steps to inform the public that paying higher interest rates on their cards as an indirect result of the recent credit card reform legislation was not inevitable.
"In spite of all the press coverage about big card issuers raising rates, cutting limits and adding new fees, you can find a fair deal on a credit card at your local credit union," said Fran Sommerfeld, CEO of Sioux Falls FCU in a release touting his credit union's card programs.
According to Sommerfeld, members don't need to worry about big changes on their credit union issued credit cards because abusive practices that Congress is cracking down on don't exist with credit union card programs. And consumers don't need to accept what their card issuers are doing to them either.
"You'll still be able to get a reasonable interest rate with no outrageous fees if you just switch your business to a credit union," said Sommerfeld.
As an example, Sommerfeld noted that Sioux Falls Federal offers a Classic Visa card with a 10% interest rate and a Platinum Visa at 7.5%. It also offers a secured Visa card with a 10% rate, which allows a consumer with no credit or damaged credit to get a credit card with a limit equal to the amount placed on deposit in an interest-bearing savings account. "None of the cards we issue have annual fees, penalty interest rates or deceptive terms," said Sommerfeld.
"The bottom line is this: No consumer needs to suffer because of Congress's efforts to reform the credit card industry. People have choices, and this is an excellent time for you to examine the terms and conditions of your card agreement and look for a card company that will treat you fairly," he added.