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CLEARWATER, Fla. – Card Services For Credit Unions, the association of credit unions that process their card transactions with Certegy, has released new data which point to the strengths in credit union card programs as well as where they need improvement, according to CSCU President, Robert Hackney. Hackney pointed to the data which showed credit union issued cards outperformed the VISA card averages on a number of fronts, including the number of times cards are used per month (4.9 for CU cards, versus 4.3 for VISA cards generally); the percentage of active accounts as indicated by active monthly bills (61% to 55%); and the percentage of card accounts with finance charges (65% versus 60%). Credit union cards lagged VISA averages in the average outstandings ($1,908 for CUs versus $2,616 generally); the size of the average sale ($65 versus $78); and the average cash disbursements ($355 versus $955). The latter statistic Hackney attributed in particular to the relative popularity among non-CU-issued cards of balance transfer offers since balance transfers, from a processing perspective, are most often treated as cash advances. He attributed the lagging figures in outstandings and average sales volume to credit unions delaying starting Platinum card programs. Platinum cards have higher credit limits which help increase both average sales and the average outstandings, Hackney said. In statistics collected from just CSCU member credit unions, Platinum cards have an average monthly usage almost three points higher than Classic cards (6.8 times per month versus four times for Classic cards). Average outstandings for Platinum cards were more than double that of Classic cards ($3,465 versus $1,378.) “It is clear that credit unions can compete with other credit card issuers if they want to,” Hackney observed. -

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