DES MOINES, Iowa-Des Moines Police Officers' CU pays nothing to offer mobile banking to members, and the $35-million credit union knows how to get members interested in the service -pushing adoption by about 45% in four months.

"Mobile banking costs us nothing, and we don't charge our members anything," explained Janet Lintin, CEO at Des Moines Police Officers' CU (DMPOCU). That's all the better because "it's clear that mobile devices will be central to how members do their business. Despite our small size, our members and potential members count on us to keep up with technology."

"It's Me 247 Mobile Web Banking" runs on a mobile-optimized website (WAP) and is provided free by CU*Answers to credit unions that subscribe to the CUSO's integrated E-commerce product suite, said Rachel King, CU*Answers sales administrator. The CUSO will charge for two forthcoming mobile banking products: "It's Me 247 SMS Text Banking" and "Mobile App Banking," she said.

DMPOCU will launch SMS-text mobile banking this month through a different vendor, Lintin said. The CU will pay 35 cents per transaction.

At Fox Communities CU in Appleton, Wis., mobile banking adoption increased 100% in four months, from 1,800 members to 3,600 members, or about 5% of the total membership, according to David Thone, VP-internal operations at the $800-million CU. The number of logins climbed to nearly 24,000 in May, up from about 5,000 in February.

The best way to get members using mobile banking is to "focus on people who are already comfortable using electronic delivery, including home banking, bill pay and e-statements, and then leverage those systems to carry your message," suggested Lintin.

Both DMPOCU and Fox Communities bolstered usage by giving members a chance to win an Apple iPad tablet computer every time they logged in to Mobile Web Banking.

How Contest Worked

The CU*Overdrive Mobile Web Banking contest was sponsored in April and May by CU*Answers and the Xtend CUSO, which paid for the iPads as well as the marketing materials and printing costs, said King.

"The CUSOs designed this turnkey contest," Lintin continued. The CU simply "determined which delivery channels would be most successful with our membership, and the CUSOs took care of the rest."

In February, before the contest, DMPOCU members logged in nearly 900 times, Lintin said. In May, there were more than 1,100 logins. About 100 members accessed Mobile Web Banking in February, but by May, more than 140 members had enrolled, which is more than 6% of the total membership.

DMPOCU began offering mobile services more than a year ago, said Lintin. "Mobile Web Banking only offers basic transactions compared to online banking, but it makes it possible for members to access their accounts wherever they go."

Lintin said she hopes to expand the CU's mobile banking capabilities. "Folks are managing much of their life through mobile devices, so we look forward to the time when they are able to conduct all their financial transactions on this platform."

Though It's Me 247 Mobile Web Banking will remain free, CU*Answers will charge credit unions about $1.15 to $1.25 per member per month, a trip charge for the text message, and a response charge of about $0.0275 to $0.030 per trip for Text Banking, said King. Pricing for Mobile App Banking hasn't been determined.

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