Findings from a recently released white paper indicate that the explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a massive opportunity for credit unions. The white paper – which is based on a report by Javelin Strategy & Research – can be downloaded in its entirety here.
According to recently released findings by Javelin Strategy & Research, customers of giant banks are more willing to adopt the latest technologies, such as fingerprint authentication and mobile wallets, and tend to have higher ownership rates of smart devices such as smartphones, fitness bands and smartwatches. In contrast, credit union members appear to lag or be at par with the general population in a number of categories, such as smartphone ownership and usage of fingerprint authentication. However, slower adoption rates and lower willingness to use the latest technology should be viewed as both a potential opportunity and challenge for credit unions.
The opportunity rests with how credit unions introduce new technologies and features to their members in a way that does not take away from the desired personal relationship. The challenge is that as new technologies become proven and mainstream, credit unions must be able to offer them to their members or else face potential attrition.
One potential key driver to consider is that credit union members tend to prefer having a personal relationship with their financial institution (FI) over using technology. For example, among nonusers of mobile banking, 39 percent of credit union members report they, “prefer dealing with people,” compared with 34 percent in the general population. Further, skepticism for new and unproven technology, such as voice banking, is high among credit union members, with 36 percent stating they do not feel it is secure, compared with just 29 percent of the general population.
Given these findings, credit unions should consider implementing four strategies to ensure they remain the primary FI relationship:
Encourage members to adopt a “set it and forget it” payment preference for all new connected devices and mobile wallets.
Promote the credit unions’ debit and credit cards as the preferred payment method, allowing members to concentrate their digital spend with their primary FI (the credit union) and have the greatest control over their cash flow. Getting members to initially sign up with their credit union card as the payment choice (“set it”) for each new connected technology adopted (e.g., smart washing machine) creates an obstacle for competitors due to the mindset of the consumer to “forget it” when it comes to changing the preferred payment method. Only in cases of dissatisfaction or an extreme competitive reward offer will a consumer go back into setup to change a payment preference, and the same holds true for mobile wallets. This “set it and forget it” approach can be a powerful tool for credit unions, as it becomes an educational awareness program that can be accompanied by small, one-time incentives to be effective.
Drive mobile wallet adoption among credit union membership.
It is no longer a question of if a member will use a mobile wallet but rather a question of when. In order to get ahead of the game, the credit union should proactively educate members about how to use the wallet and incentives to drive its payment cards into that wallet. Once the card is in the wallet, the consumer mindset becomes “set it and forget it,” as described earlier.
Develop a strategy to drive credit union cards as the preferred payment choice for six key companies, due to their size and relation to digital payments.
- Amazon is the largest e-commerce player and has deployed Alexa, its digital assistant, to control connected device payments
- Walmart is the largest physical point-of-sale merchant that has deployed its own wallet and is investing heavily in e-commerce
- Samsung, a leader in digital technology and IoT devices with its own wallet, is positioned to perform well in tomorrow’s connected home
- Apple, a key wallet player, is gaining power in the connected world and will soon deploy its digital assistant for the home
- Google, which is investing heavily in the IoT, the connected home (e.g., Nest) and Android Pay/Google Wallet, is critical to future adoption for credit union members
- Facebook, the largest social media site and owner of Instagram, is investing heavily in e-commerce
Credit unions should focus on these companies as critical to driving their future payment strategies, as these six players are likely to control the majority of digital dollars spent in the near future by all consumers, including members. By promoting their cards as preferred payment choices, combined with a “set it and forget it” approach, credit unions can position themselves to capture significant payment volume from the IoT, e-commerce and mobile wallets.
Consider using education to drive adoption of more advanced banking technologies in combination with the desire for a face-to-face relationship.
The desire for members to prefer interacting with actual people presents an opportunity for credit unions. For example, they can use this personal touch to explain how fingerprint biometrics can be used as an improved method of authentication for mobile banking login.
Credit unions should always consider how they deploy new technologies in light of members’ desire for human interaction. This could be as simple as hosting mobile banking tutorial sessions at a branch or deploying a button on a mobile banking app allowing the user to contact a live agent during a mobile banking session. Providing the option for members to interact with a human being while using their smart devices will further enhance their experience with your credit union.