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Opinion

Why members need digital banking services

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Three billion. That’s more than a third of the world’s population. It’s also the number of people who will have access to mobile banking services by 2021, according to a study from Deloitte. Across the nation and around the globe, financial institutions have jumped on this trend, offering digital services ranging from bill pay to mobile deposit and more.

Credit unions are no exception. More than 77% of credit unions offer online banking and 57% offer mobile banking. These services allow credit unions to combine convenience with the local, personal touch that they’re known for. They’re also an important strategy for appealing to younger demographics: As much as 88% of millennials do their banking online, and those numbers will only rise as Generation Z enters the workforce and begins doing banking on their own.

As head of deposit products at PenFed Credit Union, I’ve seen how these products can transform members’ financial wellness, helping them achieve their financial goals and increase their sense of financial stability. Here are some ways you can encourage your members to take advantage of these services and maximize their full potential:

  • Enroll in direct deposit An impressive 82% of Americans use direct deposit – and it makes sense. Not only does direct deposit allow members to access their funds far more quickly, but it’s also a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach – no more waste of envelopes, checks and stamps. Reach out to your members who haven’t yet enrolled in direct deposit and ask if they’d be interested in doing so. It’ll save time and trouble on both ends.
  • Use mobile deposit That said, not everyone can benefit from direct deposit; many freelancers must invoice projects and receive individual checks for their work. This is where mobile deposit can come in handy. Instead of having to drive all the way to a branch and make a deposit in person, all a member need do is sign the check, take a photo of it and upload the photo via the credit union’s mobile banking app. The check will usually validate within a few days, if not immediately, saving them the trouble of a drive and saving the environment the cost of their car’s gas and emissions. Remind members about the benefits of this service and encourage them to make use of it.
  • Enroll in bill pay Nothing is more frustrating than a late fee. Just a few moments of forgetfulness can impact a member’s credit score for years. Urge your members to prevent this by enrolling in bill pay. If they seem skeptical, point out to them that bill pay can help ensure that they’re not being overcharged for services like utilities and cell phone data. Online billing allows members to review their bill before paying it, putting the power back in their hands so they can dispute the charge if necessary.
  • Take advantage of mobile applications We’re all glued to our phones; some reports say that millennials and baby boomers alike spend over five hours per day on their phones. Take advantage of this reality by actively promoting your mobile application to your members. It’s a great opportunity to showcase all the things the app can do – functions like paying bills, depositing checks, transferring money between accounts and reaching out to credit union staff for assistance. And if your app connects to digital payment services such as ApplePay and GooglePay, you can remind members that there’s no need to carry around a credit card when they’ve got the entire credit union on their phone.
  • Create and access multiple accounts In the old days, members had to make a phone call to figure out how much money was in their account or, if it was after hours, locate and drive to an ATM. Now, not only can they check their balance with a few clicks, but they can also open different savings accounts. PenFed members have found this useful when saving for specific purposes, such as a vacation, a wedding or a down payment on a house. Instead of seeing one large pot of savings, they’re able to separate out individual goals and see their progress toward them. Incorporate this option into any financial education materials you distribute to your members. It’s a small change that can make a world of difference when it comes to achieving financial goals.

There’s a reason these services will reach 3 billion people within the next few years. They’re intuitive, accessible and make managing money easier than ever before. Most importantly, they allow credit unions to accomplish their mission – giving their members superior service – on a bigger, broader and better scale than ever before.

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