The seamless experience – it’s what all providers, both legacy and startup, are looking to engineer in their quests to win love and loyalty from digital natives. Credit unions are among those evolving to meet shifting consumer expectations, and a new app from CO-OP is expected to accelerate the digital transformation journeys of more than 1,800 participating credit unions. Advanced, intuitive features, including integration with popular ride-sharing apps Uber and Lyft, have transformed a simple ATM and branch locator tool into a can’t-live-without-it, homescreen-worthy app.
The tool was designed with Google, Facebook and Amazon users in mind. Indeed, these big-brand Internet giants have set the tone for digital experiences across all aspects of our lives. In a relatively short amount of time, they’ve inspired both delight and trust among some very influential (and profitable) consumer segments. And they’ve done it by making otherwise sophisticated technology extremely simple for people to use.
This can be intimidating for the established financial industry’s intrepreneurs, especially those who face very real hurdles to innovation. But it doesn’t have to be. The key is a shift in mindset – from imitation to integration. Rather than attempting to architect a brand new product, service or experience, credit unions should be looking at ways to integrate with the best of the best.
Credit unions make it better.
Such integration goes far beyond helping credit unions grow. There are very real benefits for consumers and app providers, as well. By providing the nation’s 100 million credit union members with seamless access to their favorite apps, technologies and digital tools, credit unions make those experiences even better.
Imagine pre-loaded personal and account data, functionality hyper-personalized to the user, or even more importantly, reassurance the app or fintech provider is trustworthy and secure. These are qualities a credit union can inject into the user experience, creating mutual benefit across the member-provider-credit union triad.
Michael Ogden, a writer for the Credit Union Times, wrote a poignant column imagining exactly this kind of integration in this week’s issue. Here’s an excerpt from “Exploring Location-Based Partnerships … With Tacos!:”
Say you create a partnership between the credit union, a local restaurant and the ride-sharing company. And within that partnership are rewards and/or giveaways and/or chances of winning something if you 1) book a ride on Lyft, 2) withdraw $10 from a “insert name of credit union” ATM and 3) go to the designated restaurant during a certain week of the year. And if you do those things (which are obviously easily trackable), your members could win!
Seamlessness is at the center.
CO-OP is on a journey to help more credit unions create experiences like this to meet (perhaps even exceed) the expectations of digital consumers. Often, this will be achieved through integration with popular consumer apps. Just this month, in fact, we rolled out exactly that integration with our reimagined ATM and Shared Branch Locator app.
The CO-OP Locator app helps credit union members locate nearby surcharge-free ATMs and Shared Branch locations within the CO-OP Network. Seamlessness is at the center of the app’s strategy with technology like geolocation and API integration creating that effortless experience digital natives crave.
With one touch (and in some cases, no touch), Locator app users find exactly what they are looking for. Here are just three features that deliver frictionless access to credit union information and services:
- Customized, intuitive interface – After selecting their credit union upon installation of the app, users see results specific to their membership. Because the app automatically geolocates the user, it displays results based on both location and membership, so users do not even have to initiate a search.
- Notifications – Users can opt to be alerted when locations are added, removed or changed.
- Ride-share integration – Users that select “Get directions” may use the program’s maps feature for turn-by-turn directions or request a ride-share or Uber/Lyft pick-up. Pickup and destination information are automatically entered into chosen ride-sharing apps.
‘Mobile banking’ is just banking.
Todd Clark, President/CEO of CO-OP, believes the app will be particularly attractive to Millennial credit union members who have grown up in a digital world with everything they need a click away. “This consumer is not looking for ‘digital’ experiences, per se. That’s because all of their experiences are digital,” said Clark. “To them, the term ‘digital camera’ is redundant. It’s just a camera. In the same way, mobile banking is just banking.
“Our own research shows Millennials very much value access to branches and ATMs. But it’s important to consider that the way digital natives expect to engage with their credit union inside these channels is different,” continued Clark. “That expectation is rooted in digital, which essentially means seamless integration with all the other aspects of their lives. The CO-OP Locator app, and many of the integrated technologies to come from CO-OP soon, aim to deliver that kind of intuitive, effortless access to credit unions from anywhere the member happens to be.”