Engaging consumers wherever and whenever they want means engaging across multiple channels, including a full complement of digital and physical options. Realizing this potential isn’t easy. “Consumers want to transact in a multitude of ways: by phone; at an ATM or shared branch kiosk; inside a credit union branch; by PC, tablet or smartphone; or using an IVR system. Consumers demand payments anytime, any way they choose to suit any scenario,” says Dr. Kathy Herziger-Snider, senior vice president of Debit/Prepaid Shared Branch Product. Upgrading legacy channels with omnichannel features like the ability to conduct ATM transactions using a mobile phone helps credit unions make the leap into this new reality.

At the same time, delivering a true omnichannel payment experience isn’t just about adding or enhancing channels: “CO-OP is using the phrase ‘integration is innovation,’ to describe the challenge,” says Herziger-Snider. “As we expand our digital capabilities, we’re also ensuring that we make everything work together in a secure way and capture data from those transactions, so credit unions can be smarter and use that information to improve member engagement across all aspects of their relationship. Data is the key to personalizing the member experience at speed, and integration ensures that valuable member data is captured and used to enhance business intelligence.”

Why Omnichannel Matters

Consumers live in an omnichannel world. Not only is mobile becoming the norm, but a recent study by PYMNTS and Visa found that only 4 percent of U.S. smartphone users rely solely on a smartphone to stay connected. The remainder own at least one other connected device – game console, voice-activated assistant or connected thermostat, to name just a few options. A full 77 percent of these consumers want their financial institution or bankcard network to enable new ways to pay.

Meanwhile, methods of payments are proliferating. Consumers now routinely use recurring automatic payments, P2P on social media, in-app payments, and most recently payments through popular activity trackers. Payment methods that we would have never considered just a few years ago are now preferred for their speed and convenience.

And even with the plethora of channels available to them, consumers aren’t necessarily sticking to one channel per transaction. A 2016 study by Forrester found that 47 percent of U.S. bank customers have had at least one cross-touchpoint banking interaction – in which they begin in one channel and finish in another – in the past 90 days.

Among CO-OP’s answers to the cross-touchpoint, omnichannel trend is Cardless Cash, which will allow users to initiate a transaction on their mobile phones and complete it at the ATM. “Cardless Cash is a new way to deliver a faster member experience at the ATM using a new technology based on QR codes,” says Herziger-Snider. “It’s a good fit for members who might leave their cards at home on occasion, but who would never dream of leaving the house without their phones.” It also minimizes time spent standing at the ATM, and takes a bite out of skimming – the practice of lifting ATM card data from devices placed on ATM machines.

Integration Is Innovation

Freshening legacy channels with omnichannel capabilities is an undeniable win. But it’s part of a larger CO-OP initiative that has even farther-reaching implications for credit unions. By creating a digitally-driven payments ecosystem, CO-OP aims to provide new benefits for forward-thinking clients:

  • Data aggregation and analysis that leverages CO-OP’s scale
  • Enhanced security that incorporates the power of machine learning
  • Unified experience that simplifies interaction with CO-OP
  • Innovation based on APIs and an open banking model.

“The ecosystem that we are enabling will allow credit unions to compete with the big banks,” says Herziger-Snider. “We’re enabling technology and giving clients access to data – reporting, analytics, business intelligence – that helps them really understand what members prefer. We’re investing in the credit union movement and partnering with credit unions to create a member experience that truly differentiates them.”

Challenges like integrating omnichannel into the ATM experience aren’t unique in the digital era. If anything, they’re constant. “Our approach to innovation goes so much deeper than just offering new products,” says Herziger-Snider. “By focusing on integration as innovation, we’re looking across our enterprise to enable solutions that are integrated across channels in order to create a differentiated member experience.” Integration as innovation makes it possible for credit unions to create a member engagement strategy and take action as never before.”

Get the full story on CO-OP’s ATM enhancements including Cardless Cash.