Two of CUNA's professional councils teamed up to explore "physical-digital wallets" in a new white paper.

The CUNA Technology Council and the CUNA Operations, Sales and Service Council digs into how the credit union industry has cautiously approached digital wallets, how to adopt a digital wallet solution and the concept of "physical-digital wallets".

Understanding commonalities and differences with digital wallet platforms, how they fit into a credit union's payments strategy, whether in-house talent can oversee the initiative and determining metrics to measure success are among some of the topics featured in the white paper.

"It is critical for credit unions, more than ever, to define a strategy that places a branded card at the point-of-sale transaction," it says. "The objective is no longer a digital wallet per se, but rather a physical-digital wallet: a personalized member-facing operating system that facilitates all retail and banking transactions."

An April study by ING International says that 84% of surveyed mobile phone users trust their own bank the most to provide a mobile payment application, according to the CUNA paper. But determining whether or not a digital wallet is right for a credit union requires as much a sales and operations stance as it does a technology stance.

The concept of digital wallets is not new. The paper argues that while Google Wallet emerged in 2011, the wallet space wasn't really shaken until Apple Pay debuted last year, and as such, credit unions' approach carries extra weight after long observing from the sidelines.

"Physical-Digital Wallets: The New Payment Strategy" features views from digital payments industry experts alongside its own perspectives. It is the collaborative effort of the CUNA Operations Sales & Service and Technology councils, and is available in the white paper section of the CUNA website.

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