More Than a Number – The Pitfalls of Relying on Rate


It’s pop quiz time – can you spot what is wrong with the following sentence?

“Introductory Visa Platinum rate as low as 1.99% APR!*

Pencils down!

Did you answer “everything and nothing?” If so, give yourself two points.

Let’s say you’re crafting a marketing piece and this sentence serves as a feature of the credit card. In this context, there is absolutely nothing wrong with highlighting your great rate as a selling point of your credit card.

In contrast, if your entire piece – or worse, your campaign strategy – focuses exclusively on this point, then everything is wrong with this sentence. Here’s why:

When it comes to shaping the “what” of marketing – your message, or what you’re offering the member – remember that your credit union is more than its interest rate. Admittedly, one can see the temptation behind making an attractive rate the focal point of your marketing. In “Credit Union-Land” we’ve been told that our not-for-profit structure makes better interest rates a differentiator from the big banks. And it does. But rates come with their own sets of problems:

So what role DOES rate play in your loan marketing strategy? Rate will enhance a loan offer when combined with a strong emotional appeal that clearly illustrates the benefits of choosing your credit union to fulfill a financial need. Your marketing messaging should tell your credit union’s story and why it should matter to the consumer:

People aren’t buying your mortgages, car loans, and credit cards – they’re buying a better version of their life with your credit union’s services. So go ahead! Promote your “rates as low as…” till the cows come home. But don’t make the mistake of thinking your rate will do the work for you. It’s up to YOU to bring the art of storytelling into your credit union to show members and potential members how choosing you helps them.