Activating new credit cards is a very common practice that today is pretty simple and easy, but just a few years ago, activating a new card you received in the mail wasn’t all that convenient.
At the time, options were limited. You would have to call your credit union during business hours via the 800 number printed on the sticker on your new card, speak to a live representative, and they would manually activate the card. Eventually, that process was integrated into an interactive voice response (IVR) system, allowing the member to call any time day or night and push a series of buttons to automatically activate the card. Although the member still had to dial the 800 number, the IVR approach did offer greater convenience.
Fast forward to today, where members activate their card right within their mobile or online banking app—a giant step forward for convenience. They simply log into their preferred application, click a button, and voila! – the card is activated. Members still have the option of dialing the 800 number and activating their card through the IVR or even with the help of a live representative. Still, many of today’s consumers appreciate the ability to perform this small task on their terms, within their preferred mode of interaction.
Over time, the improvements in card activation are just one powerful example of how integrations across technologies via APIs (application programming interfaces) have resulted in faster, more efficient processes and a much better member experience.
“It’s interesting to view the progression of one isolated function like card activation and consider how there are so many more functions like that, which together have transformed a member’s experience and the way they engage with their credit union,” says Brian Friedman, Director, Product Management, Integrate, Co-op Solutions. “At Co-op, we’re allowing those individual functions to be seamlessly embedded into digital application delivery and packaging them into broader use cases, making it easier for credit unions to implement. APIs will continue to evolve from standard operational functions to feature-rich digital experiences that provide even more significant service and member engagement – like Co-op’s Digital Card Issuance API.”
Competing With Fintechs on Their Turf
Today, credit unions aren’t just competing with the community bank down the street. They’re also lined up against leading fintechs like PayPal and Chime for their members’ wallet share. The most significant factors are convenience and the ability to offer members the products and services they want.
Co-op’s CU Growth Outlook research, conducted in partnership with EY and Filene, found that fintechs are harnessing payment products to accelerate growth and take over the marketplace. For example, since last year, PayPal has experienced five times relative growth in primary financial relationship, and Chime showed 18 times growth. Moreover, 78% of respondents don’t expect their credit union to offer the digital payment options that are right for them.
How can credit unions reverse this trend? By investing in their digital ecosystems to provide members with the convenient, always-on financial services experience they desire – and demand. To achieve this and meet their members (and prospective members) where they are today, credit unions must be innovative and agile—ready to offer the latest digital payment solutions quickly and efficiently. The best place to start is with integrated solutions.
Integrated solutions help credit unions achieve a digital maturity that can rival even the most sophisticated fintechs. Credit unions can implement digital-first solutions and leverage them in the best way for their – and their members’— unique needs.
Integrations help credit unions in two important ways: by helping them achieve operational excellence through increased efficiency while supporting a modern ecosystem of digital solutions that works seamlessly together, enabling them to provide members with compelling benefits, including digital delivery and anytime/anywhere convenience.
“Co-op’s strategy for integration is centered around taking care of our clients,” says Nelson Fisher, Principal Product Owner, Co-op Solutions. “Our goal is to support credit unions by enabling their ability to operate more efficiently and engage with their members successfully through their own digital channels, which ultimately leads to growth. For us, it’s all about how we can best serve the credit unions that work with us through the technology we deliver.”
Opportunities for Integration Abound
The opportunities for improved efficiency and member convenience through integration are virtually limitless. For example, on the member-facing side, CardNav® by Co-op provides cardholders with unprecedented management of their card usage through mobile-enabled controls and alerts. The app empowers members to decide when, where, and how their cards are used, in advance and in real-time, increasing their engagement with the mobile channel and encouraging them to keep their cards top of wallet.
Meanwhile, Co-op Digital Card Issuance gives members a seamless, touchless, and secure way to immediately access their credit or debit card accounts through a mobile app or online banking system while waiting for a new or reissued physical card. By delivering digital credit and debit credentials instantly, Digital Card Issuance allows members to continue using their cards without interruption—while keeping the credit union’s cards top of wallet and top of mind.
In the back office, the possibilities are just as compelling. With Co-op Springboard, credit unions gain real-time access to cardholder account information, all in one place. With the Springboard interface, it takes just a click or two to research transactions, answer questions, access and update cardholder account information, and view reports.
Designed specifically for the needs of credit unions, with the help of Co-op’s Co-creation Councils, the Co-op ecosystem is uniquely designed to support easy, seamless integration for our credit unions and the vendor partners they work with most.
Developer Portal Supports Fast, Easy Innovation
Co-op is continuing its long-term investment in the credit union digital ecosystem through integrations. The Co-op Developer Portal is a centralized integration hub to help credit union development teams and their vendor partners discover, develop, test, and deploy solutions. The Developer Portal simplifies seamless integration and delivers new digital features faster – so credit unions can develop integrated solutions that boost member usage and foster primary financial relationships.
Co-op offers a range of integration options to perfectly fit each credit union’s needs, integration resources and environment, so they can choose the option that best fits their strategies and priorities.
For example, APIs give credit unions ultimate flexibility in creating their desired digital applications to meet their members’ needs. And with Co-op’s pre-built partner integrations, the Developer Portal makes it easier for digital vendors to integrate with Co-op. We are advancing our digital provider partnerships to offer seamless integration and faster speed-to-market for our credit unions.
And coming soon, Co-op’s software development kits (SDKs) and drop-in user interfaces (UIs) will significantly reduce development time and costs – credit unions save anywhere from 960-1,585 hours of development time compared with building an integration in-house from scratch for a small to medium-sized project.
The world of financial services is increasingly driven by speed, convenience, and a relentless focus on consumers’ evolving needs. Integrations are one important way credit unions can keep pace with the latest innovations while meeting their members where they are today – and tomorrow.
Co-op is investing in the future of credit unions through our commitment to the digital payments ecosystem developed for credit unions, with credit unions. Learn more about the Co-op Development Portal and explore our open-solution APIs here. Then reach out to us for help in designing your integrated digital ecosystem to best meet your members’ needs.