Points, gifts, extras — we all want the bonuses that come with using certain services and products. And with each year, this desire and expectation for those rewards is growing stronger and stronger for American consumers. Not only do clients and customers want a quality product or service, they want something extra on top, and they really crave the cash!

Loyalty reward programs date back to over 100 years ago. One of the first was the S&H Green Stamp program, which started in 1896. Everything from toys in cereal boxes and box tops on Betty Crocker products, to more modern-day airline reward programs followed suit over the next 75 years. Now, highly-informed consumers look to not only grab the extras, but “play the game” of maximizing those point programs that, today, are often extremely personalized. As Media Planet suggests, “Today’s stamps and spoons are points, status, and interactive communication achieved through traditional and incremental ‘loyalty’ program offerings. This new breed of loyalty initiatives has made access, interest and reward levels more tailored—and engaging—to the individual.”   

Rewards are reaching new levels as businesses try to out-do their competition. A recent story on CNBC reported that six credit card issuers had begun offering cash bonuses at an all-time high of more than $1,000. Delta Airlines made recent changes to their SkyMiles program giving fliers the opportunity to book a flight on their own private jet if they can rack up enough miles.

Credit unions are not new to the cash-back or points game. But some innovative CUs have moved beyond the typical cash-back credit card programs.

Today’s environment opens up new opportunities for credit unions to step up their rewards-program game to include other areas of business, including real estate. For example, CUs using our HomeAdvantage® program help their members earn Cash Rewards at closing. For home buying members who are spending cash on movers, closing fees and more, the HomeAdvantage Cash Reward not only excites them, it relieves financial anxieties. And that brings on even more smiles at closing. This positive feeling and experience builds relational equity, increasing their appreciation for their credit union and building loyalty for other financial services.

So, we challenge you. Look at your current loyalty/rewards program(s) — Are you stuck in the past, just keeping up or taking it one step further and gaining ground ahead of your competition?

If you enjoyed this read, check out Walking the Path to Purchase with Home Buyers