How to “happen to offer” mobile payments

The movement of money is a commodity where, for the most part, the consumer can’t tell the difference between one payment product and another. As barriers to entry weaken and technology improves efficiency, this lack of product differentiation diminishes margins and threatens non-essential players in the space.

The good news is, credit unions are in a position to offer tremendous and unique value to both members and merchants; value that will not only sustain, but actually strengthen the credit union brand in the rapidly emerging mobile payments ecosystem.

Your credit union already possesses the holy grail, the superpower coveted by Google, Apple, Yelp, Walmart, Target, PayPal and every other player in the mobile payments race. This superpower manifests itself in the form of consumer accounts and an ability to skillfully connect them with merchants using behavioral data, consumption history, purchase propensity, purchase relevancy and more.

In 2015 we’ve seen a tidal wave of mergers, acquisition, strategic partnerships and high profile mobile wallet launches in the ecosystem – PayPal with Paydiant, Google with Softcard, LoopPay with Samsung, Chase Pay with MCX, and just the other day, Walmart Pay was announced – but the consumer shopping experience is still fragmented. Amidst this flurry of industry alliances and activity, one thing stands out above the rest: it’s not about replacing the swipe, it’s about adding value at the point of sale through the mobile device.

But how do you – from an issuer standpoint – deliver what an intelligent, connected consumer is looking for?

There are payment apps built by tech companies for particular industries that focus on very specific solutions. There are store branded apps offering a number of features that are specific to a single merchant. There are tech company wallets that aim specifically at replacing the plastic credit card and there are merchant meta apps that offer general features for a number of retailers along side a credit card payment alternative. And then there are financial institution branded wallets, that are shaping up to do it all… because with their coveted superpowers, only they can.

User narrative: an intelligent, connected member of your credit union will engage technology before, during and after the experience of “where do I have lunch?” and there are dozens of applications in market to help them with every step.

Well before they arrive at the venue, mobile apps help your members decide where to eat offering customer ratings, delivery services, hours of operation, digital menus, location finders and much more. Once the hungry member arrives at the restaurant, there are a dozens of other apps focused on redeeming offers, building loyalty incentives, splitting and closing the tab and much more. When your member finishes their meal, there’s yet another handful of mobile apps on their smartphone focused on engagement, referrals and rewards.

Why can’t your member just pick one of these apps, whichever is their favorite, and then delete the rest? Because each app focuses on a single or small subset of needs and none offers a solution for everything the member needs throughout the entire “where do I have lunch?” experience.

But perhaps the most important need in your member’s “where do I have lunch?” experience, is the need that doesn’t exist at all. Your member never once is looking for a solution to the painful experience of swiping a plastic card through a merchant terminal. Instead, your member looks for value that’s added to one or more of the three phases of their lunch experience.

Only the financial institution, with access to accounts and consumer data, is poised to provide a wallet behind a brand already trusted for financial security, that offers real value before, during and after the point of sale. Oh yeah… and if they happen to offer mobile payment also, even better.

David Dean

David Dean

David Dean is the Director of Business Affairs for CU Wallet, a collaborative, mobile wallet venture serving credit unions.Mr. Dean joined CU Wallet in 2014 and is responsible for ... Web: Details