Why Using a Single Card Processor Pays for Credit Unions

October 8, 2021 Co-op Solutions

The payment landscape is changing rapidly, and today’s members have more choices than ever before. 

Building a Primary Financial Relationship (PFR) with your members is about giving them all the tools they need to improve their daily financial lives. And payments, when thoughtfully leveraged across the entire relationship, can help credit unions expand their touchpoints while also delivering outstanding value to their members. 

Like many credit unions, you may have introduced one or more new payment services over the past few years, such as P2P payments through Zelle®, instant digital card issuance, contactless cards, and integration with popular digital wallets like Apple Pay®, Google PayTM and Samsung PayTM. Along with traditional credit and debit cards, you may now be offering multiple payment channel options to your members, each supported by different vendors.

As your members’ needs evolve and the payment landscape grows ever-more complex, managing multiple partner relationships becomes an increasingly daunting challenge.  

Here’s why consolidating your payment program under a single card processing partner may be the better choice. 

5 Reasons Why Partnering with a Single Card Processor Makes Sense 

A single relationship is easier to manage: Moving to a single payment processor can enable operational efficiencies across program administration, reporting and other back-end processes. It also eliminates redundancies, including the need to balance and settle programs across multiple systems.

Better member experience: When your credit union switches to a single partner to oversee your entire payment portfolio, your members will enjoy a uniform experience and seamless integration across all their payment touchpoints. This includes access to consistent, recognizable features across all payment channels, including card controls, fraud alerts and digital card issuance.

More effective fraud mitigation: With fraud and identity theft on the rise, it’s important to stay one step ahead of the fraudsters. Having a single, unified view of your processing environment makes it easier to spot worrisome trends across platforms and payment channels. This improves your credit union’s ability to detect and react to trends quickly, reducing the risk to members and your organization.

Expanded opportunities for portfolio growth: With support from a single processing partner, your credit union can maximize opportunities to run comprehensive campaigns and strategies to propel growth across your entire debit and credit portfolios. You’re also less likely to cannibalize payment transaction activity from one portfolio to benefit the other.

Access to comprehensive member data: By consolidating your entire payment program suite with a single partner, your credit union gains unparalleled access to your members’ full spending and payment behaviors—information that can help you identify member needs and preferences accurately and offer customized promotions, rewards and cross-selling opportunities.

And don’t forget – because payment processing is a volume-based business, you may be overpaying for services by farming out slices of your portfolio to different vendors. By consolidating with one partner, you have stronger negotiating power and may be able to obtain better pricing. 

But beyond the dollars and cents, there are also hidden costs of using multiple processors that can be just as damaging. 

How Do I Make the Switch? 

Consolidating your credit and debit processing under a single partner may sound difficult, especially if those relationships have been in place for a while and seem to be running smoothly. But with a little planning and strategy, it can be seamless and efficient to reap those benefits of consolidation: 

First, take inventory of your current program. Ask questions like: 

How many partners does your credit union use? 

Which processes are redundant? 

Where are there gaps in your program? 

Next, make sure you understand your members’ diverse payment needs, and determine if you are meeting those needs through your current mix of products, features and tools. 

Enlist support from key stakeholders, including executives, operations, IT, risk and lending, to ensure buy-in and alignment across your credit union’s operations. 

Lastly, establish your criteria for selection based on what is important to your credit union and your members, and research those vendors that can service all your current program needs now and in the future. This may be a partner that you are already working with to support one or more of your current payment product lines, or it may be a provider that is new to you. 

In your search for in an all-in-one payments partner, make sure to assess the candidates based on a range of critical criteria. Is the firm forward-thinking, with a strategic roadmap that aligns with your credit union’s future needs? Does it offer full-service support across your credit, debit and digital payment product lines? Does it offer expert, strategic advisory services to enable robust portfolio growth? Does it offer effective fraud mitigation tools and support? How about employee training and support both during and post-implementation? 

“Look for a firm that has invested in technology that enables optimized member experiences to compete in today’s marketplace, as well as internal systems to enable efficient operations,” Goodwin says. “For example, CO-OP has built and continues to invest in an open ecosystem for credit unions—enabling them to select the best partners for their needs while delivering an optimized member experience and more efficient operation. Our focus on growth and engagement assists credit unions in achieving success in portfolio growth and fostering primary financial relationships.”  

The time has come for credit unions to take a leading role in their members’ daily financial lives, and payments are the doorway to capturing the Primary Financial Relationship. Make the most of this opportunity by consolidating your credit and debit processing with a single, expert partner that knows and understands the needs of credit unions and your members. 

Are you ready to get started on your consolidated payment processing journey? CO-OP’s debit, credit and prepaid card processing solutions empower members to seamlessly and securely make payments anywhere, anytime and any way they want to pay. 

Zelle and the Zelle-related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license. 

The original article Why Using a Single Card Processor Pays for Credit Unions can be found on Insight Vault.

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