Bradley said Pioneer would welcome other participants. "The whole point is to get community institutions involved and get a bigger bang for the buck," she said. "But so far, even being the only institution, we're still seeing everything we've expected from this launch."
In addition to its headquarters at 1320 Kanawha Blvd. E., Pioneer has branches at 4802 MacCorkle Ave. in South Charleston, at Riverside High School in Belle, and at 1507 Main St. E. in Oak Hill. A branch near Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Teays Valley is under construction and expected to open in June.
Pioneer's Kasasa tie-up isn't the first time it has tried to showcase its member-oriented philosophy. In 2011, after Bank of America tried unsuccessfully to charge its customers a $5 monthly fee for debit cards, Pioneer ran an advertisement in the Sunday Gazette-Mail headlined, "Let's make change!" Pioneer said it would pay its members 5 cents every time they used the credit union's debit card. The ad declared, "Finally checking that makes cents!"
Summit Community Bank, which has offices at Southridge and at 620 Virginia St. E., also has made news over the years. In 2002, when it was known as Capital State Bank, it began offering "Forever Free Checking."
Doug Mitchell, Summit's chief executive officer, said Summit has followed the evolution of BancVue's programs but decided to design its own product, branded Summit Advantage, which it launched four years ago.
The complexity of Kasasa offerings is sometimes difficult for customers to understand, Mitchell said.
"Some qualifiers are disingenuous, like when you say the customer has to do 12 transactions but in the small print it says PIN (personal identification number) transactions don't count. Some customers don't know the difference between PIN and signature transactions. So you have customers who come in who thought they did enough to qualify for a high rate but didn't."
Also, some institutions' monthly qualification cycle is different from their account statement cycle, which also can be confusing, he said.
Summit Advantage accounts are built on the same premise as Kasasa — "you sign up for e-statements," Mitchell said. "But we say three-point-of-sale transactions a month of any kind, PIN or signature, qualify you. Swipe your card three times to make purchases and you know you're good. And our statement cycle and qualification cycle are intentionally designed to be the same."
Bradley said there's nothing confusing about Pioneer's Kasasa-brand products.
It doesn't matter if the 12 monthly debit card swipes are PIN or signature transactions, she said. Pioneer's qualification cycle ends the day prior to its statement cycle, "so they can get that reward reflected on their statement," she said.
Contact writer George Hohmann at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.