Timing is Everything in the Changing Payments Space

CUs must constantly evaluate platforms and channels to meet members' needs.

July 09, 2013
/ PRINT / ShareShare / Text Size +


The payments market is rapidly changing, so credit unions need to monitor the market, evaluate payment platforms and channels, and determine where to enter and exit on the product life-cycle curve.

That's the message CUNA Mutual Group's Theran Colwell delivered Monday to attendees of a Discovery breakout session at CUNA's America's Credit Union Conference in New York City.

Seventy-five percent of credit union fee income stems from payments products and services, according to Colwell, director of strategy and business development for CUNA Mutual Group, which sponsored the session. “That’s what makes this a hot topic,” he explained.

Payments are the key to becoming a consumer’s preferred financial institution, Colwell said.

They move in all directions among seven platforms and two channels, he explained.

The platforms are:

Checking system;
Credit card system;
Debit card system;
Automated clearing house (ACH);
Wire transfer system; and
Closed-loop systems and virtual currencies (i.e., airline rewards, Starbucks Card).

There are two channels:

Electronic (Web, mobile, ATM); and
Physical (cash, checks).

Check transactions and processing are significantly down over the last 10 years, while the number of debit-card transactions, credit-card volume and ACH transactions are up, according to Colwell.

Notable entrants into the payments market include Starbucks (Starbucks Card), Square (Square Register and Square Wallet), Google (Google Wallet), and Target (RedCard Debit, RedCard Credit), Colwell said.

Starbucks is regarded as the most successful entrant into the new payments world. Its Starbucks Card processes $2.7 billion per year, with more than 500 million transactions annually.

The future of payments for credit unions is dependent on members' desires, as well as technology, regulation, economics and timing, Colwell said. “Timing is critical in payments,” he added. 

Be sure to visit News Now and Credit Union Magazine frequently this week to keep up with all the ACUC action in New York City. You can also follow ACUC on Twitter using the links below:

News Now LiveWire
Credit Union Magazine

Post a comment to this story


What's Popular

Popular Stories

Recent Discussion

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.

Your Say: Who should be Credit Union Magazine's 2014 CU Hero of the Year?

View Results Poll Archive