Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: mobile banking

New Tech Alert! “Hey Siri, Pay My Electric Bill”

This is a CUbit.  In case you haven’t seen one before, these are my out-of-schedule short posts highlighting breaking news.

Today, Apple released a beta update for iOS (software powering iPhone and iPad).  There were the expected improvements and feature additions (hooray, an easy way to find my AirPods!), but something else snuck in.  Something which can change the entire credit union industry overnight.

Apple added bill pay capabilities to Siri.

Yes, with only your voice, you can pay a bill or check on the status of a payment.  Instead of opening an app, finding Bill Pay, trying to set a new one, finding out you can’t do it on your phone, going to your computer, entering the information…etc., now, just say, “Hey Siri, pay my cell phone bill.”  Or, “Hey Siri, did Dave ever pay me for that dinner?”

This functionality is now in beta as part of SiriKit (the API which powers integrations into Siri services).  If your banking platform service is not diving in to the documentation headfirst, tell them get on it!  And if you manage your own bill payment system, ask your IT to begin looking at what it will take to have your members paying by voice upon its release.

What are you waiting for?  Get to it!

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:

78% of All Websites Link Here

See what I did there? I made up a statistic. (Or did I?) Statistics have a funny way of saying everything but what they were intended to do.

Why mention it now? Because 10% of you already stopped reading.

That liked stat was pretty close to accurate. Yesterday, I saw an article heading making the credit union rounds. It said “87.9% Of U.S. Adults Do Not Use Mobile Banking”.

Wait, only one out of ten people use mobile banking? Then why the focus on the platform from every bank, credit union, and community bank? The number seemed off, and by a lot. A quick search located an article from Wikipedia citing a 2012 study of mobile banking usage worldwide. In it, the United States was said to be at 32% penetration. And that was 4 years ago, before Apple caved and gave you all giant-screened iPhones. You know, the distant past!

So we’ve determined the statistic is wrong. But flat-out incorrect, or just taken out of context? I mean, 64% of all statistics are contorted to get your point across. I dug deeper. The credit union publication’s article linked to another source, who linked to the original source of the statistic. Unfortunately, it was a statistic clearinghouse which requires payment for access to statistical data (irony, anyone?). I could not locate where that stat originated. However, this is my prediction:

A survey was conducted to determine American adults’ mobile banking habits. A first question set the stage by asking if they ever used mobile banking. For those who answered no, it may have asked one more question of why (convenience, features, security, etc.). This is where our questionable number originates. The majority of respondents felt that their banking needs were met without ever opening the mobile banking app. Which is valuable information on its own. But now we have context.

The 87.9% was of a much smaller value representing those who don’t use mobile banking, not of the whole. Let me see if I can make this visual:

Mobile Banking Usage Chart

Does that make sense? The stats, taken out of context, told the wrong story. However, they still tell an important story, just a different one. Your members do use mobile banking, but is there enough value for them to bother over the convenience of already being at their work computer? Can they easily process bill payer on a Sunday evening? Send money to a friend after a friendly game of cards?

And that, my friends, is why you always check the source and context of any statistics. I’m told 58% of people don’t, so be part of the (made-up) minority!

Image credit: Me, after a 10-minute stint on Pages, and realizing my “87.9%” segment is nowhere near 87.9%. Hey, it got the point across, right?

Image credit (feature): Me, after realizing making up statistics is actually really hard and settling on making a college preference statement instead.

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