An app was just released that allows drivers to pay for tolls from their phone. The app, called FastToll, keeps track of toll plaza locations, and figures out which state to send the payment to. What does this have to do with credit unions? Everything! It’s one more example of payments disappearing. Using an app to pay for parking meters using EasyPark, Parkmobile, or PayByPhone; the recent releases of Walmart Pay and CVS Pay, using Uber or Lyft, and reserving a table and paying for dinner all from within TabbedOut or OpenTable, are all examples of cardholders not pulling out plastic to pay. The one common denominator is that at some point the consumer entered a 16 digit payment card number, with a CVV and an expiration date. The questions is: whose card did they use?
There’s been a lot of discussion and hype around the cool new mobile wallets, Apple/Android/Samsung Pay, and the need to be not just top-of-wallet, but now, top-of-phone. But long before Apple Pay was even announced, people were enrolling a credit card into their Sunpass, E-ZPass or Fastrak transponder account. In many cases it’s been years since the credit card was updated. It just gets topped up automatically. These “old school” transponders are making mobile payments. It’s not the same technology as Apple Pay and Walmart Pay, but it still requires a payment card.
Mobile payments represent less than 1% of all payment transactions. But that still represents nearly half a billion dollars in payments, according to Javelin Research, and is expected to grow to $8 billion over the next two years. Credit unions are missing a few opportunities to get their CU-branded debit or credit card as the default card in these apps and websites to be on board for this tremendous growth. Every time a member comes in to a branch, the member should be reminded to make the credit union’s card the default card in each app. Reminders and tips should be seen on the credit union’s online banking site, and for those few who still receive statements via postal service, inserts should be included educating members that the best card to use when paying in an app is the credit union’s card.