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Sage Advice from Credit Card Adventurers

posted by Julie Wigg, Project Services Team Lead on Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Anyone who has navigated the winding path of a credit card conversion can tell you surprises are to be expected. That’s why having the right mindset at the beginning of the journey is so important. If you’re ready for that inevitable surprise around the next bend, the chances of it knocking you off course are far fewer.

Fortunately for the credit union industry, many have traveled the roads to successful conversions. Their legendary tales help us forge ahead with confidence, ready to avoid some of the roadblocks, snares and traps of what can be a complex voyage.

Here are a few pieces of advice to consider as you set your own course to conversion:

Put one foot in front of the other

The systems involved in a credit card conversion will not switch simultaneously. Internal and processor systems must be switched in a systematic order, and that process can span several days. Understand system freezes may take place, impacting things like processing payments and opening new accounts. Those freezes ensure every transaction is retained throughout the conversion, leaving members none the wiser.

Take care of your members

One of the easiest ways to cause pain for cardmembers is to jump into a conversion without a complete understanding of how it will impact rewards. As you are planning, figure out what the two rewards systems need to most easily come together. The goal is to convert points or other rewards in a clear and transparent way and to avoid a lengthy disruption in either earning or redemption. One way to ease anticipated upset is to offer a post-conversion points promotion. This can make up for any “lost” points that may come from an earnings gap.

Keep communication open

Leaving one partner for another can be awkward, especially when you need the full cooperation of all parties to make a conversion seamless for cardmembers. Set expectations of your current provider up front. Several reports must be generated on a routine basis to assist with the preparation of systems, collections and financial accounting. Even after the conversion is complete, you will still require your former partner’s participation, as there are reports for trailing and posting cardmember activity.

Don’t gloss over compliance

It can be tempting to push ahead when the path appears clear. But, thanks to the regulatory landscape we all traverse these days, we must proceed with absolute caution and adherence to the rules. Make sure everyone involved in the conversion understands the regulatory requirements so they can assist in a smooth, compliant conversion.

No one likes surprises. Well, some people do. But only the good ones, right? A successful card conversion comes with those, too. When the right mix of experts with the right mindset come together to execute a well thought-out conversion plan, magic happens… ensuring not every surprise is a bad one.

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