Consumers increasingly are turning to mobile and digital financial services, so it’s logical that small businesses would, too. Vendors say that’s a need credit unions can help meet.
In fact, “some 2,500 financial institutions now offer mobile deposit,” says Jim DeBello, CEO of Mitek, which offers mobile deposit and related services. That’s becoming a must-have service among small businesses.
“Almost all financial institutions who have it offer it to retailers—up to two-thirds of them to small businesses,” DeBello says.
Credit unions have been slower than other financial services providers to offer mobile services, he adds, due to “a wait-and-see attitude from concern about possible risks. But now, as larger credit unions have successful experiences with the technology, they’ve established a baseline that smaller credit unions can rely on.”
One big factor influencing that decision is that the technology is ubiquitous among younger consumers— the “sele generation,” as DeBello calls them. But even baby boomers are embracing mobile financial services after being slow to adopt them initially.
DeBello says these services have a direct effect on small mom-and pop business owners. “They’re busy people, and mobile deposit saves them a trip to the bank or lock box. Also, the rise of apps allows them to work at a trade show, for example, and collect and deposit money quickly. They don’t have to wait to deposit physical checks, which creates a safer, quicker cash flow.”
He points to Apple Stores and Nordstrom as companies that live and breathe mobile services. “Reps meet and greet customers, and can snap a driver’s license for identification on a tablet, open an application, or close a sale. This obviates the need to stop at a checkout stand. It’s a very useful tool for establishing new customer relationships.”
DeBello says some credit unions that initially were slow to embrace mobile services have developed a strategy to leap-frog the competition by introducing bill pay and accountopening services along with mobile deposit.
He says credit unions that offer such services have two advantages over competitors that don’t: “One, it’s a great defensive strategy. It creates stickier customer relationships and makes it harder for them to switch financial institutions. Two, it appeals to younger members, who expect convenient, anywhere/anytime access to their accounts” and other services.
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