Credit unions are still going strong after several generations. However, there are several ongoing trends that are set to affect the way in which they operate in the coming year. A number of trends have been predicted for 2018, and these could have a major impact on credit unions both indirectly and directly. So, the question is, will merchant services for credit unions play a role?
Growth and Expansion
Credit unions are predicted to continue their geographic expansion, with larger organizations reaching out into other regions. One particular area of growth for 2018 and beyond looks to be the small business market. It is likely to grow among most credit unions, and increasing numbers of institutions will seek to diversify and increase their portfolios via members’ business deposits and lending.
Advances in Digital Channels
Digital channels are predicted to continue their rapid evolution, and further advances are set to take place in adaptability, channel integration, functionality, and user experience, allowing credit unions to spread into new regions. At present, the “buy” button is becoming more important since it enables members to find out more and buy products instantly. This convenience has seen this innovation increase in demand. As increasing numbers of members choose to open their accounts digitally, more efficient and interactive options will be required.
While considering the advances in the use of digital channels, the adoption of online payment portals will also become more prevalent in 2018, and innovative merchant services for credit unions will undoubtedly play a key role in allowing members to make payments and manage their finances in a more efficient and user-friendly manner. By allowing members to use payment channels 24 hours a day and seven days a week, as well as the payment method of their choice, it becomes easier to facilitate collections in a more functional, cost-effective, and less time-consuming manner to make credit unions more profitable for 2018.
Block-chain and distributed ledger technology are set to gain even greater momentum throughout 2018 and implementations look set to take place globally. Facilitating micropayments, identity authentication, and improving smart-contract functionality, it is clear this advancement will continue in the near future.
APIs are set to enable offerings that are more targeted to the needs of credit unions and are reliant on the existing core infrastructure. For example, BillingTree's in-house integration services team can effectively deploy APIs into credit unions' existing systems for a seamless and streamlined solution that offers a better user experience while promoting efficiency through the latest technological advances.
Security and Risk
This year could be the year the standard password is passed over in favor of new and more advanced authentication tools. Already credit unions have increasingly adopted layered security that requires bio-metric authentication, and the near future will see more services, such as payment through photographs and MasterCard Identify Check, appearing as key components of a layered approach to security. Stronger strategies for cyber resilience will also possibly be demanded by federal examination agencies, with an increased expectation that credit unions mitigate any financial losses that have been caused by a cyber-attack. Cloud services are also likely to be increasingly adopted by credit unions as one efficient way to offer better scalability, flexibility, and security to their members.
Outsourcing payment systems to specialist third-party providers, such as BillingTree, will ensure complete compliance with current regulations and guarantee the highest possible level of security. These types of third-party merchant services for credit unions will make credit unions more competitive and more attractive to Millennials in today's competitive financial arena.