CUs and Mobile Monetization

Go beyond basic mobile services to recoup costs, grow income.

December 13, 2012
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The mobile industry is poised for explosive growth. The Yankee Group projects up to 500 million people will use mobile banking services by 2015, with mobile transactions exceeding $1 trillion in value worldwide.

Businesses and consumers alike are looking for personal financial management on their mobile devices—while credit unions are evaluating how they can capitalize on this market opportunity.

The way financial institutions provide financial services is changing. According to research by Nielson Mobile Insights, smart phone penetration surpassed feature phone penetration in February 2012, and the use of tablets is growing at the unbelievable rate of 400%.

With the widespread adoption and rapid growth of mobile technology, services that were once considered “optional” are now deemed a requirement by most consumers and businesses.

Credit unions that wish to remain competitive must level the playing field by quickly implementing basic mobile banking services such as viewing account balances and making account transfers.

Although members are demanding these services, most are unwilling to pay for them. This poses quite the challenge for credit unions: How to justify buying technology that has no direct return on investment.

Peter Aycliffe, chief executive at Visa, recently stated that by 2020 more than half of all transactions will be made using mobile technology.

So how can financial institutions recoup some of the costs for investing in this technology?

There's a variety of mobile banking services that provide additional value that members will pay for.

Mobile remote deposit capture (RDC) is certainly a service to consider offering for a fee to consumers. While some credit unions provide this service for free, others are charging without member complaint.

Many find that the convenience of not having to drive to a branch to make a deposit is well worth the cost.

In addition to creating fee income, mobile RDC allows financial institutions to reduce check processing costs. Mobile remote deposit costs vary greatly depending on the source, ranging between four cents and 59 cents per item. But check processing costs average between 75 cents and $3 per item.

The biggest opportunity credit unions have in charging for mobile services: Member businesses. These services must go far beyond account balances, histories, transfers, and deposit services, however, for these members to be willing to pay.

Applications that address the paper-intensive world of critical business functions are the key. These include mobile services that help streamline functions such as customer invoicing, accounts receivable posting, and payment processing.

Mobile continues to be a game changer, and the value-add for these types of services is vast. Businesses can save as much as 15 minutes per transaction when electronic processes replace the paper-based, labor-intensive processes of writing up invoices, hand-keying information into back office accounting systems, and manually preparing and taking deposits to the credit union.

Further, funds are deposited and accessible immediately instead of being accumulated at the end of the day—or worse—over the course of several days.

Financial institutions can play an active role in the success of businesses in today’s marketplace and create new revenue streams by offering sophisticated mobile solutions that address invoice creation and delivery, and back-office and payment processing.

As mobile adoption, mobile banking, and mobile payments continue to grow at unprecedented rates, now is the time for credit unions to break into the small-business mobile banking market and capitalize on the opportunity to monetize mobile.

This is the perfect opportunity for credit unions to enable their member businesses to be competitive in a rapidly evolving, multichannel commerce environment.

DEBBIE SMART is senior vice president, product management, at Aptys Solutions, Rockwall, Texas. Contact her at or 801-204-9008.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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