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The Dirty Data Dance: How To Clean Up What You've Captured

Credit unions are beginning to interact with members through a variety of new channels as members demand more easily accessible account details. That especially includes access to mobile devices, which are becoming an increasingly popular method for members.

Recent Experian QAS research found that 65 percent of financial institutions are capturing customer contact data through mobile applications and 92 percent see the use of mobile platforms growing.

Unfortunately, data collected through an online application is frequently the dirtiest data in a system. Members are often in a hurry or unsure of their own contact details. In addition, formatting is a problem as members do not use standardized abbreviations or may input information in the wrong field. To compound these challenges, consider that members entering information on mobile devices are often using touch screens or extremely small keypads, leading to even more data-entry errors.

But data quality is a problem for organizations as a whole. We found that 99 percent of financial organizations surveyed believe that they waste budget each year on inaccurate contact data. Because of this waste, it is important for credit unions to implement some sort of verification to prevent inaccurate contact information from entering their systems and impacting member communications as well as member intelligence and compliance.

Credit unions should review the pieces of contact information that members can input through mobile applications, and put verification in place to prevent inaccurate data through the mobile channel. There are several different methods for verification. First, point-of-capture tools can be leveraged online to validate contact details while a member is still engaged. Second, data can be transferred to a holding area and scrubbed before it enters business processes.

Point-of-capture validation will interact directly with the member to ensure that all details are standardized and validated while they are using the application. Most of these tools work behind the scenes to correct information, so the member never encounters the software unless a major error has been entered. The benefit of this type of tool is that information, such as a missing apartment number or street directional, can be gathered from the member in real time.

However, some credit unions may not want to add that level of verification to a new mobile application and there are alternatives. Verification can still take place after the member enters contact details.

Information In A Holding Area
Information can be placed in a holding area and run through a back-office cleansing tool before it is entered into the main database. This will allow information to be standardized and verified. If information is inaccurate, it can be flagged and service representatives can reach out to the member directly to append and correct details.

Again, it is important to verify all pieces of contact information collected by the mobile application. As communication channels continue to diversify, it is also important for credit unions to be able to reach their members through as many avenues as possible.

As mobile applications become more popular, credit unions need to be even more mindful of the importance of accurate data and ensure that members themselves provide accurate details. Contact data, no matter where it is entered, needs to be standardized and complete to enhance member satisfaction and organizational efficiency.

Thomas Schutz is SVP and general manager of Experian QAS.

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