Local Rewards Card Shows Strong Gains
A credit card with a rewards program aimed at spurring economic activity at local retailers and at local travel destinations has shown strong growth in Michigan.
The 86,000-member, $620 million Michigan First Credit Union offers the Experience Michigan First Rewards Visa card which allows members to choose from Michigan-made products or popular Michigan destinations when they redeem rewards points.
Michigan First reported that it had opened 1,000 new accounts with the card after it added a rewards program, offered by a company called RewardsNOW, that allowed it to offer more local rewards.
“In light of the economic times and the pride we’re sharing in Michigan’s recovery, we thought it would be great to offer a program that somehow ‘gave back’ to the local economy,” said Linda Douglas, vice president of marketing at Michigan First.
The card's rewards include gift cards to popular tourist destinations, favorite restaurants and retail outlets along with charitable donations to the Special Olympics of Michigan, CARE of Southeast Michigan and many others.
The credit union reported that three months after launching their program in April, the new card saw an increase of nearly $1 million in new balances in 90 days (compared to a previous average of approximately 60 accounts per month or 180 on average for three months).
“We’re shooting for a total of $5 million in new balances by year’s end,” said Douglas.