As if! Compare how members make payments today to how they made payments 25 years ago. In the 1990's, bills were paid primarily through snail mail by check, or perhaps paid in person with cash at a designated payment location. Many people still received traditional paychecks, and it was not uncommon to be stuck behind someone paying for groceries with a paper check. A stolen credit card could be as detrimental to your cash reserves as misplacing a highly valued beanie baby. Whatever! How times have changed.
Members can pay bills online or setup automatic payments either to credit cards or ACH transfers. Grocery store lines are now more efficient thanks to the majority of consumers using credit cards. EMV chip technology has made credit cards more secure, and the high attention to fraudulent activity by issuing card companies eliminates the fear of chargebacks for both consumers and merchants. Advances such as Apple Pay and Google Pay have made purchasing even simpler using phones instead of carrying cards. Square and PayPal have made accepting credit cards for even small "mom and pop" shops extremely simple, so much so that even your standard garage sale is not a cash-only venture anymore. Venmo and Zelle peer-to-peer payments have made paying each other effortless, whether paying a babysitter or splitting a restaurant tab.
With this rapid shift in the way people pay, there has been an even more rapid shift in payments technology. The more members get used to the convenience, the more developers are finding new ways to improve it. This is due in large part to API's and the ability of credit unions and banks to incorporate technologies into their architecture. In a recent article from Payments Journal, "API-based architecture enables financial institutions to create intuitive, modern experiences for customers and members. This configurable and scalable infrastructure provides financial institutions with the ability to continuously innovate and introduce new features and functionalities in payments. The industry is working together to support the standardization of APIs, with organizations such as Afinis Interoperability Standards, by developing an API standardization “playbook” to help fintechs, banks and businesses effectively leverage APIs in the financial services sector."
In other words, credit unions can use API's to make their payments offering look like kind of a Baldwin. That is to say, by partnering with a core provider that continually innovates through API integration, credit unions of even the smallest size can offer attractive and modern payments technology. Integrations can give CU's control of the payment experience by supporting digital banking services and meeting member expectations. The ability to process card payments in-branch and over the phone for loan payments or account funding will benefit all parties, for example. These innovations will strengthen your CU's position in the market by not only retaining members, but by gaining new ones. Members will be totally crazy in love with you. Totally.