Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: technology (page 1 of 6)

ApplePay & Your Credit Union

Yesterday, Apple hosted their annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference Keynote. Of their big public events, this is my favorite, as it discusses the technologies they’re pursuing, rather than simply the newest iPhone. And are they pursuing.

There are great sites to read up on the highlights (ArsTechnica is my favorite). From iOS 11 to macOS High Sierra (yes, they actually called it that) to innovations with augmented and virtual reality platforms, they’ve showed their hand for the next year.

But there was something else featured which should concern you more than their upcoming in-home speaker: Payments. After years of requests, Apple has added peer-to-peer payments to ApplePay. Specially, within Messages. Come the release of iOS 11 in the fall, you’ll be able to send or receive money while in a message conversation with anyone. It will use your credit and debit cards linked to your ApplePay account. Of course, these are yours, right? Remember how important it is to get your cards top of wallet, both in the back pocket and digitally!

This new world of direct payments can be an enormous opportunity for your credit union. Think of all the times people share small cash payments. A few dollars for lunch, a bit more for gas, or any number of possibilities. Position your digital card properly and your members can be earning rewards for those, as well as reaping you interchange income (Note: This is an assumption, as the platform has yet to launch.). Regardless of how much you make when members use your card, being the one they use is essential.

Of course, there is also a threat. What if a person doesn’t have (or want to use) a debit/credit card? Well, there will now be an Apple Cash account. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, Apple just developed an easy way to serve the unbanked! Careful, or it could start to steal your members as well. My suggestion? Work with it. Suggest it for members who have financial challenges, aka, credit issues or even youth. Then, when they’re able to qualify, offer them an ApplePay-compatible debit or credit card. Convenient for your member, profitable (and sticky) for you.

Technology can seem scary for embedded industries. Instead of ignoring it (remember how Siri can now handle bill payments?) and hoping doom doesn’t befall your world, brainstorm how you can lead alongside.

It’s always about best serving your members.

Image credit: https://philoforchange.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/mon1.jpg

If IT’s Broke, You Can’t Release

Eagle-eyed readers will notice the “typo” in my title. Good catch! However, no mistake was made. We’re talking IT, as in “information technology”. In other words, your digital stuff.

Naturally, I’m a member of a credit union. They are a small to mid-sized institution, and I’m going to leave their name out of the discussion. If you really want to know, a quick check on my Twitter feed will give you the answer you seek. You’ll understand why in just a few sentences.

Honest disclosure: They’re no longer my primary financial institution. Let’s just say that not all credit unions are like yours.

A recent article by a fellow industry writer pointed out many great points about engaging your younger members. Yeah, a Millennials story. With truths! Rhiannon Stone (I’m sure she never gets the Fleetwood Mac reference tossed out…nope, I’m the first) explains, like me, that appealing to young people is just like connecting with anyone else. Your services need to be naturally easy to use, fast, and comprehensive. Also, they just have to work. “You are more likely to keep younger members by providing applications that are straightforward, intuitive, and free of glitches.”

Therein lies the point of this post. Their mobile app, shall we say, is old. It last received an update October 2, 2013. Did your current phone exist back then? 3 years is an eternity in mobile tech. Especially in mobile banking. But, it worked. No, it didn’t fill the screen and functionality was limited, but, the things it did support ran as expected.

On Monday, they released a new version…finally! It debuted a redesigned look and feel along with some new security features. No, the new design wasn’t better, but it was new for newness sake. Oh well. But alas, it now supports logging in with Touch ID! Welcome to 2015 and the big bank apps! I eagerly activated this feature. Then I closed the app and reopened it to test.

It didn’t work.

Ok, that’s not fair. The app opened right up with no problem. Only it never asked for my fingerprint. Or my password. It was now stuck “logged in” to my account info. Even logging out in the app was just a tease. Reopen it and there appeared my accounts again.

Being the responsible user I am, I quickly reported this issue to my credit union via Twitter. Two whole days later (they posted “Good morning” tweets in-between), they replied (ok, they “quoted” my tweet, but it’s close enough) with, “Hi Joe, thank your feedback. We’ll look into it and will try to improve this soon!” Grammatical errors are their own.

Would this inspire confidence in the security of your data? Or in their attention to detail? Let’s recall what Ms. Stone said about keeping younger members: “by providing applications…free of glitches.” This is beyond a glitch. It tells me they never bothered testing. In case you might think, “well, he’s a geek, probably running some weird operating system on an obscure phone.” I have an iPhone 7 with iOS 10.1.1, the same setup hundreds of millions of other Apple users enjoy.

I can understand if the interface on their new app had some visual artifacts or performance issues. It’s new and all software has bugs. However, the core security should be rock-solid. This part you can’t compromise or “wing it”. To me, such a critical bug should mean the app gets pulled immediately until it can be resolved. You can’t mess around with security.

My generation doesn’t tolerate security issues or companies with a lax attitude towards technical problems. Look at the uproar when Netflix was recently down for a few hours…the Internet nearly imploded. Netflix, to their credit, was incredibly responsive throughout the outage, updating as they learned more. This is how you have to be now.

Like it or not, your credit union is now a tech company, with all the privileges and responsibilities that come with the role. Those who can fulfill this position well will reap the benefits. Those who don’t grasp this concept will be in a future, “mergers of the month” article from NCUA.

Where do you see your credit union in 5 years?

Image credit: http://www.csus.edu/sacstatenews/articles/2010/12/images/instory_security.jpg

There Are Two Peoples – Part 1

No, I’m not talking about the enormous political divide. Nor am I speaking on racial tensions. These are both important issues which we need to find common ground. For today, let’s look at something else separating this country (and elsewhere). And I’m betting you never considered it before.

Technology.

This isn’t a discussion on the “haves” and “have-nots”. That’s another topic altogether. When I say technology, I mean who uses what and how. Which of these are typical web-connected devices for you? Check off from the following:

  • Desktop
  • Laptop
  • Smartphone
  • Tablet
  • E-reader
  • Living room gaming system
  • Blu-ray player
  • Smart TV
  • Set-top box (Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, etc.)
  • Sound bar
  • Virtual assistant (Amazon Echo – “Alexa”)
  • Portable gaming system
  • Home automation devices (Smart lighting, thermostat, garage door opener, home security, etc.)
  • Activity tracker
  • Car
  • Other

If you’re on one side of the technology divide, you might have related to 4, maybe 5 of the items (or even fewer!). I engage with 12 of these items on a regular basis. And there are people far more connected than myself (we’re not even talking services right now). We connect with the world in a different way than those operating on a more “computer first” focus. To me, it’s about how I can get everything to communicate so I can easily access any information I could possibly want, anywhere, anytime. When I step into my house, I can turn on my living room sound bar, tune it to a streaming app on my phone, then decide I’d rather switch over to the TV’s apps, all without ever touching a coffee table remote. In fact, were I feeling industrious, I could configure everything to do that automatically when my phone detects I’ve entered my house. Or once my security system was disabled. Or when I switched on a particular light.

As you can see, engaging in a connected world is far beyond checking e-mail on the go. A common response I get when explaining these linkages to “regular” people is, “yeah, but why?” That’s fair, so here’s a scenario: Your grandmother (who lives alone) has her smart watch, sound bar, and lighting paired together: Suppose her watch detected no movement or unusual heart rates for a certain period of time. Knowing this isn’t her normal rhythms, it could tell the sound bar to play an alert tone (and repeatedly “tap” her wrist), flash the lighting inside the house, and automatically send you a text. If there is no response and her medical stats do not improve, the system contacts paramedics and her doctor. To assist the medics, the outside lighting has engaged in a soft pulsing, the front door was unlocked by you remotely, and the lights illuminated brightly in the room she was in. Is this functionality essential to anyone’s life? No, but wouldn’t it offer reassurance knowing you had it? Nothing beyond food, oxygen, and water are essential. And neither was the Internet in its early days. In fact, you can avoid it today if you try hard enough. Your respiratory and digestive systems won’t care one bit. But are you missing out on new ways of learning about and engaging the world around you? Definitely.

And that’s the point. If you are not connected, you’re not going to care about being so. And if you are, then you’re not going to understand why someone wouldn’t want to be. It’s the ultimate Catch-22.

I’m not expecting to change any minds or inspire you to finally connect that TV to your wireless network, just hoping to open some eyes to the developments you might have missed. This will be a three-part series focusing next on the social aspect, where your credit union can develop closer and deeper relationships with members (and new ones!), then concluding with a look to a future we can hardly imagine. And if you’re thinking, “psshhh, I use Facebook and have a Twitter account, what can he possibly show me?” Well, when was the last time you used Twitter to solve a member’s issue, sent a Snapchat of your branch team rendered into your local team’s mascot, or hosted a potential member meet up at a city park to catch rare Pokemon?

Until next time, see you on the interwebz!

Image credit: https://openclipart.org/image/2400px/svg_to_png/242221/remix-fossasia-2016-contest2.png

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