Read all about it! It wasn't that long ago when a typical Sunday morning included reading the newspaper to stay up to date with current events, but how current was that news? In actuality, the Sunday morning paper was a recap of Saturday's news. When news mediums around the world shifted their focus to websites and social media, suddenly people could have live, up to the minute information. When credit union core providers rely on third party applications that update member data using batch methods rather than credit union API's, members are seeing yesterday's news.
Batch method updating does not provide live member data and is only as recent as the last batch file transmitted to or from the third party application. As the world wide web did for the delivery of news, API's have revolutionized how third party applications send, receive, display and update member data. A few member facing applications and member services that rely on the accuracy and timeliness of data include:
- Mobile Banking. Some credit unions use mobile banking platforms outside of their core provider. This produces a challenge of accessing member data found in the core. You can likely agree that members aren't interested in using a mobile banking app to see what their account balance was yesterday, nor even an hour ago. They want to see what their account balance is right now and thanks to APIs this is widely available in today's market.
- PFM. Love it or hate it, personal financial management (PFM) software attempts to help members manage their money. PFM includes visual charts and graphs to demonstrate spending trends, budgets, net worth, etc... Members that use PFM tools will want to ensure their data is in real time, and will not be satisfied with old information that batch update integrations provide.
- Mobile Lending. The very existence of mobile lending is reliant upon the speed and convenience of the service. Without an API powering mobile lending, members would have to wait until the next batch file is sent to the credit union before their application can even be reviewed. If a member is buying a car and needs loan approval immediately, time is of the essence.
- Online Bill Pay. In order for bill pay to be a valued member service, it must meet the demands of your members and provide a seamless experience. Most bill pay services come separate from the mobile banking platform. Rather than requiring an additional login when navigating to bill pay, APIs provide a single sign-on (SSO) that automatically pulls the user's password automatically, providing a painless experience and avoiding the double login for the member.
Today, live data is expected. You may read the morning paper about the Cleveland Cavaliers being down by 8 at half-time, of Game 3 but you will already know they came back to win it in the 4th quarter. Your credit union software should have an open API that works with the many different applications your members want today, not yesterday.