An increasing number of credit unions are enhancing their basic debit card service by tying usage to rewards, much like traditional credit card reward programs, notes Bob Legters, SVP/loyalty services for FIS. Some CUs opt for credit union-funded cash rewards, but many offer merchant-funded rewards programs where a member earns cash back and/or points from network merchants whenever he or she uses a debit card as a signature instead of PIN transaction. Building loyalty was one of the reasons for $1.6 million/147,600-member FAIR WINDS Credit Union's decision to offer a merchant-funded business debit card rewards program to its 5,800 business members in 2011, says Mathy Hogan, EVP/lending for the Orlando, FL-based credit union. It's mutually beneficial, she explains. Merchant-funded debit reward programs offer credit unions a less expensive way to reward members, a targeted way for retailers to increase sales and an opportunity for credit union members to get greater value, said Molly Plozay, VP/loyalty services for credit and debit card processor FirstData.