Building a digital and core strategy for a payments industry in flux

While many aspects of our lives slowed or were halted during the past year, one thing became faster – making payments. This is a paradigm with broad implications for your credit union.

Take the growing use of P2P. People expect to be paid digitally today, and immediately. It is simply no longer acceptable to make someone wait on money that is owed to them. Many companies are embracing P2P services, with Zelle a stable solution for fast transfers. 

Members today demand financial data, accounts and payments solutions universally accessible in the channel of their choice, including their smartphones, laptops and your ATMs. 

Consider also how new providers from both within and outside the financial industry continue to encroach on the payments market. If members were to rank your credit union in terms of how accessible your products and services are today, where would you rank? What are you missing?

Core and Digital: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Delivering on the expectations of members post-COVID requires a holistic strategy around payments and relationships with the right core and digital providers. 

These long-term relationships sit at the center of the member experience you provide. In order for your institution to thrive, it is essential for these providers to work properly. 

So, how can you select the best partners for your unique member base, and what should you expect from these pivotal partnerships? Your core and digital providers must help you advance your strategic vision in three critical areas:

1. Technology

Supporting the digital needs of members requires an infrastructure built for the future of digital. But getting digital right is also about service, fraud mitigation and how your channels work together.  

Your core and digital infrastructure must integrate well, with providers that can build off each other’s technologies and deliver a flexible ecosystem architected for change. Creating this infrastructure may involve the use of SDKs or APIs. 

2. Member Experience

From payments to lending and member services, many credit unions today find it challenging to connect all their services for members. Many products and services are evolving so quickly that it is difficult to deliver that consistent, seamless experience members expect on all fronts.  

Providing a superior member experience means adopting a member-centric mindset. And, this means focusing on making things easier for members, which can often mean implementation may not be as easy on your core and digital providers. Look for providers that share your member experience-first vision and have the expertise to deliver.

3. Operational Efficiencies

It is equally important to consider how your staff interacts with accounts, systems, applications and data. To ensure prompt, efficient service to members, your team must have all the data they need to meet member needs at their fingertips. They also need clear visibility into broader metrics, such as member spending patterns across their payment instruments, including your debit and credit cards.

Moving Forward, Faster

One of the defining trends of the past 18 months has been a growing concern among members over their financial well-being. Credit unions are the very best sources of help, and you can begin to build that primary financial relationship by making the everyday process of paying for things seamless and secure via digital and mobile banking apps. 

With the digital landscape changing so quickly, serving members well takes a strategic plan that can be revisited more than once a year and nimble enough to absorb exciting new technologies as they emerge.  

Bring your partners to the table, especially your core and digital providers. It is essential that all partners understand what your members need now and are working together in alignment with your future vision. In this way, you can prepare for the soon-arriving next generation of payments technologies that will continue to transform our industry.

Adrianna Adufutse

Adrianna Adufutse

Adrianna Adufutse is Director, Industry Relationships, for CO-OP Financial Services (, a provider of payments and financial technology to credit unions. Web: Details