Panelists explored how credit unions can stack “easy wins” within a transforming payments ecosystem Tuesday during the 2022 Co-op THINK Conference in Chicago.
Consumers expect a simple, frictionless, and trustworthy experience, says Peter Rae, senior vice president of sales at Co-op Solutions.
However, credit union members increasingly find that experience through fintechs, he says.
Among credit unions’ chief products in the payment’s ecosystem—and fintech’s most direct path to credit union members—is the debit card or, more specifically, the debit card number. Credit unions use that number for everyday purchases and digital subscription services.
“Top of wallet is still your best strategy,” Rae says. “But the wallet has changed.”
Seamless card-not-present and digital card issuance are table stakes for credit unions in this new wallet, Rae says. “You have to meet your members where they are and be where they want to be.”
While credit unions might not match the social media audience and innovation fintechs provide, they can excel in areas that are just as vital to member trust, he says.
“Fintechs take a lot of friction out of the equation and they do a great job of messaging as well, particularly to a young demographic,” Rae says.
Credit unions have to seek “easy wins” with the information and relationships they already have, says Jeff Pascoe, vice president of digital services and payments at $1.1 billion asset Vibe Credit Union in Novi, Mich.
“Start with what’s important to you,” he says. “If the cards and payments experience is important, focus on basic data such as finding more cards to activate and increasing use to get that member engaged as you’re learning your larger lessons about how to segment markets.”
Credit unions have “a position to the defend in the market,” but face the pressure of time as much as money, Pascoe says.
Vibe has leveraged the efficiency of mobile engagement along with “upskilling staff” to add value through financial education and personal interaction, he adds.
Pascoe says Vibe feels he crunch in time as much as financial pressure in meeting member expectations.
“We come from a position of empathy and trust, and put that through all of our channels seamlessly rather than just trying to be the next big thing,” Pascoe says. “That gives us staying power.”