CUNA Operations Council Releases A Brave New World of Plastic and Payments White Paper

Jennifer Jackson
CUNA Councils
(608) 231-4102

Madison, WI – The banks and credit card companies have spent 50 years building a proprietary, locked-down system that handles roughly $2 trillion in credit card transactions and another $1.3 trillion in debit card transactions every year, according to Daniel Roth in Wired Magazine.

“Until recently, vendors had little choice but to participate in this system, even though—like a medieval toll road—it is long and bumpy and full of intermediaries eager to take their cut,” he says.

“A Brave New World of Plastic and Payments” is a white paper recently released by CUNA’s Operations Sales & Service Council that takes a look at the near future of credit and debit cards, mobile banking, as well as people-to-people payments.

There are, of course, no clear-cut answers to the future, but some credit unions are taking the lead in the financial services industry.  State Employees Credit Union, for instance, was one of the first financial institutions in the United States to add a microchip in their debit card. The $22.5 billion assets organization in Raleigh, North Carolina, has 16,000 members currently using the card; they plan to offer the chip technology to the rest of their debit cardholders—960,000. Plans are also in the works to introduce chip cards to credit card holders in the first quarter of 2012.

Mobile banking is making headways as well. Verity Credit Union, $380 million in assets, Seattle, Washington, launched mobile banking on May 2, 2011 and within a month the credit union had almost 1,050 members sign up—about 10% of their active online users. “It was one of the easiest launches ever,” says Shari Storm, SVP and chief marketing officer. “It was relatively inexpensive and right after we launched mobile banking, members were already asking for remote deposit capture.”

“There is something weirdly engaging about using apps and the smart phone,” she says. “I heard a brain scientist speak at a luncheon and she told us about a study that showed dopamine levels in the brain shoot up higher when you hear a ping on your Blackberry or smart phone then when you look your children in the eye.”

The paper is available online in the white paper section of – select the “OpSS” tab.

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CUNA OpSS Council

The CUNA Operations, Sales, and Service (OpSS) Council is a member-led partnership of operations, sales, and service professionals dedicated to providing education, leadership, networking support, professional development tools, and expertise to its members in order to shape the enhancement of the role and diversity of operations in the credit union industry. The CUNA OpSS Council is one of the six organizations that make up the CUNA Councils, a network of more than 4,850 credit union professionals. For more information, visit or

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