A second credit union has begun offering Visa's Signature Card, a card aimed at more-affluent and high-dollar spenders.
The 140,000-member, $1.4 billion Baxter Credit Union currently has a card portfolio of roughly 46,000 active card accounts which primarily carry the Visa logo, according to James Block, vice president of consumer lending for BCU in Vernon Hills, Ill.
The suburban Chicago credit union reported the worth of its card portfolio, as of the end of March, at just over $160 million.
Navy Federal has been the only CU in the country to offer the Signature card so far, Block said he was told by VISA. BCU is the first to use PSCU Financial Services as its card processor to offer the card, he added.
Signature cards carry a significantly high level of operational details and rewards standards that made them something of a challenge for Baxter to offer.
For example, Visa insists the Signature issuers offer a dedicated phone line for Signature card users to access their own set of cardholder services. The card also carries a 24-hour concierge service that the CU obtains from Visa.
In addition to exclusive hotel, airline, shopping, and car rental discounts, special fine dining and sporting event pricing, 90-day purchase protection, and international transaction fees, BCU said the card would have no pre-set spending limit and would carry interest rates of between 8.90% and 10.50%.
The card will also carry a $99 per year annual fee, but BCU will waive it for those cardholders who maintain a sufficiently high balance in their share accounts, Block said.
“We want the addition of the card to help more members to decide to make us their primary financial institution,” he said. “We decided a sufficiently high share balance would be a good incentive to waive the fee.”
Block said BCU began rolling the new card out to qualified members in April and already had issued around 200. BCU has a goal of getting roughly 10% of its card portfolio, or about 4,500 cards, to be Signature cards, he added.