While the new year will see many credit unions begin large-scale conversions to EMV, other payments methods are also beginning to take hold among consumers, and those are likely to accelerate in 2015.

Industry experts are predicting fierce competition among digital wallet providers in 2015, as ApplePay gains traction, MCX from MasterCard comes online, PayPal is spun out from eBay, and more.

"In terms of a general consumer shift, all of those things going on are really good, because it's going to give so many options to consumers looking for better, more secure, more convenient ways to buy things," said Andrew Tilbury, chief marketing officer at Bluepoint Solutions.

Most analysts agree that there probably won't be a rush back to cash.

Instead, according to Steve Ruwe, chief risk officer at PSCU, consumers are shifting to more secure — and increasingly contactless — payment methods, while also paying closer attention to their accounts.

"I don't think we're going to put that genie back in the bottle," said Ruwe, who heads up the CUSO's risk analytics team. "Our online environment and communications are getting better. [Consumers] are getting texts on when transactions occur.... It's very easy for consumers to go on their phone and look at what's going on in their account. So a combination of heightened awareness of 'risk' and technology providing them the means, I think consumers are just very much more in tune with watching what's going on with their accounts."

New Congressional Front?

Credit unions and other financial institutions spent much of 2014 in a war of words with retailers over who was truly responsible for member losses in the event of a data breach, with both sides lobbying Congress extensively.

But despite a new Congress coming in next year — including a Republican majority that might be more friendly to credit unions on certain issues — analysts were skeptical that there would be much progress on the issue.

"I don't think they'll really do a whole lot," said Nicole Reyes, senior fraud prevention analyst at The Members Group. "I just don't think Congress has enough stake in the game to really focus on that — and when they do, they tend to be on the side of the merchants."

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