Wearable technologies could increasingly be a part of the credit union member experience, thanks to a new initiative from CO-OP Financial Services, which is supporting both BECU and First Tech Federal Credit Union in MasterCard’s payments services for Garmin and Fitbit wearable devices.

Todd Clark, CO-OP Financial Services
Todd Clark, president and CEO of CO-OP Financial Services

“Wearable fitness trackers and smartwatches are popular with many different segments of today’s digitally engaged consumer,” Todd Clark, CO-OP president and CEO said in a statement. “And the market is ready for the next iteration of these devices, which are ultimately about making our lives easier. Consumers are eager to use their wearables in new ways, and secure, on-the-go payments are one of the most compelling, particularly for the young and active cardholder segment served by MasterCard, CO-OP and the credit unions we collectively support.”

BECU SVP of Retail Doug Marshall explained that as a MasterCard client through CO-OP, the credit union will be able to enroll members in the new wearables immediately, “keeping in step with how our members want to and expect to make payments.”

Similarly, Brad Calhoun, chief marketing and retail officer at First Tech – which serves tech-based SEGs such as Microsoft, Intel, Amazon and more – said his credit union was “excited to be part of MasterCard’s Garmin and Fitbit pilots to explore new offerings for our members and find ways to make their banking experiences more seamless.”

According to CO-OP’s Clark, keeping pace with emerging digital technologies is critical for growth-minded credit unions -- a trend CU Journal has previously covered.

“Attracting digital consumers to credit union membership hinges on the movement’s ability to hustle into a first-mover stance. As consumers across the country unbox their shiny new wearables from FitBit, Garmin and other fan-favorite tech brands, credit unions need to be right there saying, ‘Yes, we support that,’” said Clark. “More than 100 million consumers have already chosen to join a credit union, largely because of the relationships and trust these cooperatives have built with their members. As digital banking and payments tools explode on the scene, many of these members will look to their credit unions for leadership on which are safe to use.”