Marketing P2P services to improve member adoption

While the volume of P2P payments has grown exponentially, consumer awareness still lags.

September 22, 2021

When people want to send money to someone, the first question they ask starts with "do you have," followed by the name of a person-to-person (P2P) payments provider. 

Credit unions want to be part of that conversation.

While the volume of P2P payments has grown exponentially over the past few years, consumer awareness still lags. According to Fiserv’s 2021 Expectations & Experiences consumer trends survey, 47% of consumers don’t know if their financial institution offers P2P services. 

The same research shows that increasing consumer use of P2P payments can boost engagement and long-term loyalty. To capitalize on these benefits, credit unions can deploy three marketing strategies to increase member awareness and adoption of P2P services.

1. Chart a phased approach

There are three key phases of marketing any new payments offering: Coming soon, conversion, and launch. 

The first phase involves initial introductory messaging for P2P services that sets the stage for what’s to come with an emphasis on reach and awareness. The second phase involves more targeted messaging that teaches members how to transition to P2P services, with an emphasis on sharing educational resources. 

The third phase focuses on surround-sound messaging about the key features and benefits of P2P services timed to the actual rollout. This multi-layered approach works because it covers plenty of ground and continues over time—and should be sustained post-launch as well.

2. Emphasize benefit-based messaging

There are clear benefits to using P2P services such as Zelle, and financial institutions can encourage adoption and use of these services by conveying this information to their members. 

Credit unions can highlight benefits across a variety of channels, ranging from digital (including emails, banner ads, and ATM screens), social media, and print (including mailer campaigns). 

Don’t overlook the shift to real-time payments as a key messaging point. Many consumers already believe in the importance of being able to send instant payments to another person. This is because of the ease and speed of such transactions, which have only become faster thanks to pandemic-driven digitalization. 

3. Capitalize on in-person opportunities

While more members prefer digital services, some still opt for in-branch banking. Financial institutions can train frontline staff to communicate confidently with members about available P2P services during their in-person visits. 

Additionally, while digital marketing remains king, there are other avenues through which credit unions can educate their members in person. 

Take, for instance, college campus events as 83% of people ages 18 to 24 believe it’s important to be able to send instant payments to another person. This means campus visits and other events hosted by credit unions can be especially informative for reaching this segment of current and prospective members.

Effectively and efficiently rolling out P2P services necessitates a marketing strategy that takes a phased approach, puts benefit-based messaging first, and meets members where they are. 

By closing the P2P awareness gap, credit unions can ultimately deepen relationships, increase engagement, and build loyalty with their members.

MEGAN PANNIER is Fiserv’s vice president, marketing and analytics.