Back To School Spending Increases 92 Percent Among Credit Union Members



RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif., and FRANKLIN, Mass. (September 5, 2014) - Back to school spending in anticipation of the 2014-15 school year was robust in August, with a 9.2% increase recorded across 25 merchant types compared to August 2013.

Merchants offering computer software, stores selling elementary/secondary school supplies and bookstores were particularly busy leading up to Labor Day, according to an analysis of debit card transactions by CO-OP Financial Services and Saylent.

"An increase in the number of transactions - up 7.9% - holds the key to the 9.2% spending increase," said Stan Hollen, President/CEO of CO-OP. "The amount-per-transaction rose only 1% - $50.72 in 2014 from $50.12 in 2013. So, credit union members were individually spending about the same amount, but there were more members making back-to-school purchases this year."

This analysis of sales is based on transactions made during August, with results covering debit card activity nationwide by members of credit unions that use CO-OP for transaction processing. The year-over-year comparison was performed through an advanced analytics solution, CO-OP Revelation, powered by Saylent, and was conducted by Saylent's Insight360 consulting team.  

Among the highlights of the CO-OP Revelation data:

  • Total spending at the selected back-to-school merchant categories for August 2014 was $715.2 million compared to $654.9 million in August 2013, a 9.2% increase. The total number of transactions recorded in 2014 was 14.1 million versus 13.067 million in 2013, a 7.9% transaction increase.
  • Computer software was the merchant category with the biggest jump in 2014 compared to 2013, with spending up 44.3% and transaction volume up 48.5%.
  • Elementary/secondary school supplies stores achieved a spending increase of 29.3% and a transaction increase of 39.7%,
  • Bookstores realized a 20.1% increase in spending and a 24.1% increase in transactions.
  • Telecom spending rose 16.5% and transactions increased by 15.5%.
  • Department and stationary stores are the only groups where spending and transaction volume dropped in 2014 compared to the previous year.

"CO-OP Revelation provides detailed and timely analysis on card usage to enable the credit unions to better understand what motivates their members," said Tyson Nargassans, president and CEO of Saylent. "Whether those payment analytics are used to develop offers on those purchases preferred by parents and students in back-to-school mode, or to help mitigate fraud related to a major breach, CO-OP Revelation allows participating credit unions to serve their members better every day."  

For more information on CO-OP Revelation, visit

About Saylent
Franklin, Mass.-based Saylent provides financial institutions with analytics software that improves profitability and product innovation by delivering smarter, deeper, actionable insights on the financial behaviors of consumers and businesses. With Saylent's solutions, financial institutions are empowered to drive new revenue streams and increase loyalty by delivering programs and solutions that their customers and members desire. To learn more visit

About CO-OP Financial Services
Based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., CO-OP Financial Services is the nation's largest credit union service organization in terms of number of credit unions and members. With a motto of "Be There. Be More," the company helps credit unions thrive by providing products and services that make it more convenient for members to do business with them. To learn more visit