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As president/CEO of JM Associates Federal Credit Union, the idea of paying a third party to manage our credit cards didn’t make sense. I have spent much of my career working in credit unions and the very idea of outsourcing a strategic service like credit cards is antithetical to the purpose of credit unions. This is especially true for JMAFCU, whose primary purpose is to provide the highest quality services to our members.

Full-service vendors often present the problem of credit union card service as an all or nothing proposition. It isn’t. Sure, there are some features of credit card processing that may require third-party support. But even the largest banks contract out some services. Managing the actual movement of money and loan fulfilment, or the “switch,” must be done by a card processor.

Full-service credit card processing can vary based on the functions that are outsourced to a third-party. First, the database of cardholders is outsourced; second, all or part of the credit card program’s operations are contracted out; and finally, the credit union can, to some extent, turn over the card sales and marketing to an outsider.

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