Are Your Members Properly Armed For “Black Friday”?

It’s the busiest shopping day of the year and the traditional kick-off to the holiday shopping season. Help make sure your members start the season aware and prepared.


“Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, is the biggest shopping day of the year. It is called “Black Friday” because on that day stores usually end up in the “black” instead of the “red.” The question is: Are your members armed with tools for that day from your credit union?

First of all, are they armed with the tools they need for holiday purchases? If not, this is a great time to encourage members to obtain a debit and/or a credit card from your credit union. Perhaps a different twist will help with your sales of these products.

The FTC reported that many consumers are concerned that the risk of identity theft rises in the holiday bustle, particularly with regard to online purchases. You may want to consider marketing the identity theft prevention tools used by your credit union, such as:

  • Protection Insurance: This product is a great way for your members to protect themselves against identity theft.
  • Anti-pharming Technology: Make sure your members understand what this technology can do for them and for your credit union as a whole.
  • Signature validation and online card validation programs: Make sure your members are aware of these programs and have the opportunity to participate where applicable.

You must also ask yourself how committed your credit union is to helping your members prevent identity theft from happening to them. Here are some ways you can help prepare your members for “Black Friday” shopping:

•  Order a Credit Report for Them: Have a special promotion, even if only for a week or two, where you will order a free credit report for them if they have some sort of credit with your credit union. You can let them know about this on the statement or on the Internet. Additionally, if members are aware of their credit circumstances, it may also help them to be smarter when spending as well.

•  Change Passwords: Be sure to give members the opportunity to change online passwords and PINs for their debit and/or credit cards prior to this day. You may want to put up a notice at your locations the week after “Black Friday” in case someone gets ahold of a member's card or account number.

•  Newsletter and Statement Education: Take time in your next newsletter or periodic statement to educate (or re-educate) your members on ways they can prevent identity theft from happening to them.

•  Encourage Members to Just Use One or Two Cards: Be sure to encourage members either orally or through promotional material to carry only one or two cards with them when they are shopping. (Of course, you will want to encourage the use of your cards if possible!) Additionally, some financial experts also recommend that cardholders use only one credit card for all online spending so it is easier to track.

•  Visual Reminders: Promote identity theft precautions in your offices and in all outgoing material throughout the rest of the year. It is critical that members understand how to prevent identity theft from happening when they shop in a store or online for holiday gifts.

•  Seminars and Meetings: Take the time to get out in the field to promote the prevention of identity theft prior to “Black Friday.” Talk to your SEGs, community leaders, community groups, and any other person or entity to which you are affiliated. There are great tools for helping you make a presentation to members and potential members straight from the FTC's website. They have brochures you can download as well as a PowerPoint presentation that you can use to educate members for free at their website: .

•  Process Reminder: Be sure to let your members know what they should do in the case of an unfortunate experience with identity theft. Spell out the steps they should take and what your credit union will do after the initial contact is given.

“Black Friday” can be a “black” day for your credit union as well if you promote your products and identity theft resources effectively. Taking the time to show your true concern for the members' well-being during this time will help them to develop a relationship with your credit union in the future.

Harland Educational Services, part of John H. Harland Company (NYSE: JH), delivers solutions for staff and member education and research. For more information, call us at (800) 291-6117 or visit



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