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Add Your Voice to the THINK Prize Challenge

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Serving the financially underserved: We can all agree it’s crucial to the success of our communities. It’s the solution that’s less obvious. Working together, we can all collaborate around this important issue. Do you have ideas or expertise to add to the conversation?

CO-OP Financial Services has launched a challenge on innovation platform OpenIDEO to find out how we can all harness the power of communities to deliver financial empowerment to those who need it most. Ideas have been pouring in. Here are a few that stand out so far:

  • Launch a grassroots youth campaign to end the stigma surrounding financial education.

A major challenge to any education initiative is motivation. Modeled after the grassroots movement “Rock the Vote,” this initiative would tap into the power of younger generations to change the conversation around money. By encouraging younger generations to get excited about their own financial health, they would not only help achieve financial stability in today’s communities, but change social norms and pass these new ideals down to future generations.

  • Empower individual community members to function as mini banks.

The “unbanked” are a large population of Americans who don’t have access to traditional, cost-effective banking services. Instead, they pay exorbitant fees for check cashing, payday loans, and more. Individuals with the financial means to do so could act as “mini banks,” vetted through social underwriting, and provide these services to those who can’t otherwise access them.

  • Connect financial professionals with those who need expertise most.

For those who have long struggled to obtain basic living needs like food, water, and shelter, rehabilitating back into the community can be both financially confusing and draining. Maslow’s Street Fair would connect homeless individuals with community members in an active and communicative environment. Volunteers would set up displays showcasing innovative ways individuals can fulfill their essential needs on a budget, while also educating the community’s homeless population on basic personal finance concepts in a hands-on, conversational way.

What’s Your Idea?

The ideas above are just three of many that have been submitted. With the help of MasterCard and OpenIDEO, the Financial Empowerment Challenge has prompted more than 200 individuals and credit union leaders alike to submit their proposals. The best contributions will share the THINK Prize of $10,000.

The Financial Empowerment Challenge will remain in the “Ideas” phase through April 29, during which everyone is invited to help sharpen proposed ideas into workable solutions. This is a perfect moment for credit union leaders to weigh. How would new ideas work in the real world? What opportunities are there for credit unions to fill the gaps? What challenges do you see — and how might you address them?

A credit union’s core purpose is to engage with the community and help elevate the financial knowledge of its members — the THINK Prize challenge is a perfect opportunity to do just that. Make sure your credit union is a part of the conversation by starting here.

Also- be sure to catch OpenIDEO at THINK 15! Attendees are invited to participate in a live workshop during the THINK Inward sessions, Tuesday, May 6, at 4:30pm. 

Put Your Money Where the Miracles Are

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For the eighth year in a row, credit unions have the opportunity to raise money — including an additional $1 million in Miracle Match funds — for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Over 10 million children receive charitable care through the 170 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across North America each year. These hospitals rely on donations and the generous support of the community to provide the best care possible for kids. With help from CO-OP, credit unions can amplify their contributions to this worthy cause as part of a nationwide campaign.

Here are a few ways your credit union can show support for the CMN Hospitals’ 2015 campaign, “Put Your Money Where the Miracles Are”:

Apply for CO-OP’s Miracle Match program. Unleash the power of your community and strengthen ties with your members by creating a local fundraising event. Applying for the $1 million dollar Miracle Match program will ensure your efforts have maximum financial impact. Funds raised will go toward equipment, treatment, research, and services for the millions of children who receive care each year.

Donate directly to the cause. You can donate $10, $25, $50, or whatever amount you like through the CMN Hospitals website. With a few simple clicks you can do your part in contributing to the success of the CMN Hospitals. Every dollar counts, and will go toward making a difference in the lives of children who need care the most. By combining forces, we can accomplish so much more. Tap into the strength of your community and help raise millions to support the vital work of this important organization.

We at CO-OP are deeply committed to the cause of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals – and we hope you will join us!

Top 5 Must-Reads on Security

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How Does Apple Pay Lead to More Fraud?

Maybe you’ve read about the recent stories about Apple Pay’s vulnerability to fraud. This story spells out why the popular new payment method is a target. Lingering question: Will Samsung Pay address this issue?

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New Fed Task Force Aimed At Quicker, Safer Payments

Not only is the Fed assembling a task force on faster payments, but they’re also pulling together one on safe payments. We don’t expect any lightning-fast security resolutions here, but we will watch this and see what develops.

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EMV, Tokens and the Cloud

If you have time to watch this video interview, the insights on how tokenization and cloud-based payments relate to EMV are well articulated and easy to understand. A helpful primer on a topic many of us wish we had greater mastery of. 

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Tokenization Goes Beyond Apple Pay

Setting up tokenization service is a prerequisite to participating in Apple Pay. But this security technology offers benefits that make it worth investigating even if you aren’t interested in Apple Pay in the immediate future.

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Fraud-Resistant Credit Cards Are a Long Time Coming

I always enjoy hearing/reading what consumer media is saying about payments. This story is about EMV. Consumer perceptions about security, card innovations and how the industry is responding shed important light.

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EMV 101: You are Up to Speed. But are Your Members?

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Do Your Members “Get” New Features?

As credit unions roll out more and more new technology, bringing members up to speed is an escalating challenge. EMV is a case in point. With a liability shift scheduled for this October, many credit union card issuers are rolling out chip-enabled cards. Security-conscious consumers are primed for this change: Last year, the number one consumer complaint received by the FTC was identity theft. But just because your members want enhanced security doesn’t mean they’ll know how to use a new chip-enabled card. Some may not even realize their new EMV-ready card is different — or how.

No doubt you’re aware that EMV is being implemented on a massive scale. In fact, over 2 billion payment cards are chipped around the globe and by 2016, it is estimated that 500 million cards will be EMV-ready in the U.S. according to EMVCo. While a traditional magnetic stripe card is easily counterfeited by criminals, EMV technology is effective in combating this type of fraud through its dynamic authentication capabilities.

Although the benefits of EMV are clear, mainly enhanced security and fraud reduction, what makes them different and how they are used may require a slight adjustment for your members. For this reason, it will be important to provide practical education. For example, EMV enabled cards will look very similar to  traditional cards, the key addition being the visible chip on the front. Without explanation, members may wonder what the EMV chip insignia means, or they may dismiss it as decoration. By the way, while it may appear to be an exposed microchip, the chip on the front of the card is actually a protective cover that is visible, not the actual chip.

You can ensure your customers “get” their new EMV capability by clearly explaining the new look and usage differences. Instead of swiping a card through a payment processor, an EMV card is inserted directly into the front of the card reader. The reader “holds” the card for a moment, then releases it back to the cardholder. The cardholder will follow the prompts which in some cases require a signature. Nothing changes for the cardholder when making a payment over the phone. During the transition to EMV, the familiar magnetic stripe will remain on cards so merchants that are not equipped for EMV can continue accepting payment. 

Avoid These Common Mistakes

Credit union insiders have been talking about EMV for years. Your members have not. Help ease their transition by providing the information they need — and excluding the information they don’t:

  • Keep intricate, detailed security language to a minimum. Instead, highlight visible and functional changes.
  • Include a quick illustration of how an EMV card reader works, so members won’t be surprised by the new process — or attempt to wrestle with the technology when it holds onto their cards.
  • Explain why there is a chip and also a magnetic stripe on new EMV cards, so members can feel confident using their cards everywhere.
  • Educate members about why you’re making this change and what they can expect going forward.

Whether or not you provide adequate education — or even EMV cards themselves — most members will adapt to this new standard. After all, EMV terminals will be appearing at merchant locations in ever-increasing numbers. But helping your members “get” new features also helps them “get” your value as an ally in their financial wellbeing. That’s a lesson not to be missed. Visit CO-OP’s EMV Resource Center for more information on EMV.

Take the Quiz: Are You Made for the Modern Consumer?

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