Off The Record

Do You Feel the Payments Love?

Mobile aps, Big Data, and new payment solutions are changing the financial services landscape.

February 17, 2014

Each day, more Americans are smitten not by Cupid’s arrow but by their smartphones.

Remember that anxiety attack when you became separated from your device? A bit more dramatic than being separated from your spouse during your last business trip, right?

I had a Blackberry for the longest time. Recently, I made the jump to an “Android” device—now I’ve become even more smitten.

The Android operating system has exposed me to a world of apps I had never experienced. I can find an app for just about anything—turn on my TV set, make a reservation at my favorite restaurant, hail a cab, and even keep track of my vitals as I work out at the gym.

So, as you can imagine, I’m thinking there must also be an app that could manage all my finances in a way that would help me optimize my savings.

For the concept to work, the app would have to know and analyze my transactional behavior—my spending habits and where I shop, dine, and vacation. Gathering the data would require my approval, of course.

The app should also keep tabs on the performance of my 401(k) investments, as well as the latest trends in the markets and economy that affect those investments.

Consider the value this app would offer. Purchasing a car would be easier. The app would suggest how much I could afford to spend and if the time was right to make such a transaction given all my other expenses.

It would provide insights and analysis on how I could proportion the individual investments making up my 401(k). By allowing access to my transactional behavior, I might even receive vendor discounts and coupons specifically tailored to my needs.

While I’m uncertain whether such an app exists, I am certain that all the resources are already in place to make it a reality. This isn’t the future I speak of; it’s the present.

In the March issue of Credit Union Magazine, my feature article, “A New Payments Paradigm,” examines payment solutions, the growing sophistication of mobile apps, and the impact of Big Data on today’s banking paradigm. All three are teaming up in a way that will produce sweeping changes across the financial services landscape.

Question is, are credit unions positioned to innovate and incorporate these changes into the way they do business—or will they be brushed aside by new players in the game such as Amazon, Walmart, and Google?

Check out my feature article—and then let’s talk. If you feel as strongly as I do about credit unions I know you’ll have something to say. Send me your comments and let’s get the conversation going—Off the Record.

WALT LASKOS is Credit Union Magazine’s editor-in-chief.