The Official CO-OP Financial Services Blog

CO-OP Financial Services Blog: Insight Vault

6 Tools to Integrate Now

General / by Vice President, Marketing

6 Tools to Integrate NowWe all want to integrate, but how? You could easily spend 95 percent of your work hours in 2015 ruminating on this question. Or, if you would rather start moving your credit union in the direction of seamless, satisfying, member-impressing integration now, here are six tools that will help you provide an integrated experience to your members:

1. Sprig by CO-OP

Sprig is the little app that can. What can it do? Basic mobile banking, remote deposit capture and P2P payments. Also, shared branching transactions – so your members can make their loan payments at one credit union with funds from another. In-network P2P payments also happen in real time: Members no longer have the disorienting experience of waiting anxiously for sent money to go through.

The Sprig experience is becoming more integrated for credit unions as well, with the soon-to-come release of a white label Sprig you can brand yourself, and a standalone API to integrate into your existing apps. Also look for real-time, pay-anyone P2P.

Simply put, Sprig helps members integrate disparate pieces of their financial lives, whether they need to transact between accounts at two institutions or settle accounts with friends over a dinner bill.

2. CardNav by CO-OP

In a 2014 study by Mercator Advisory Group, 41 percent of credit card users and 40 percent of debit card users indicated they’d like mobile card controls and alerts. Considering this product hasn’t launched in earnest anywhere yet in financial services, that’s quite a reception.

Here’s one spin: Consumers continue to worry over card security but have relatively few tools for managing it themselves. CardNav gives them control, using technology that’s already integrated into their lives. Concerned about online security? Only activate online purchases when you’re ready to make one. Anxious about overspending? Set a spending limit.

Did you realize, as your suitcase disappeared down the conveyor belt, that your card was missing and might or might not be in your bag? Turn the card off with your phone as you walk to your plane. That’s integration.

3. CO-OP Member Center

No, call centers are not new technology. But if new technology begets integration, it also begets member questions. Technical difficulties. Thoughts about the loan application being filled out online in the middle of the night. Waiting to make contact is the opposite of integrated: It’s disrupted.

4. CO-OP Rewards

Rewards are most rewarding when members can use them effortlessly. Coming soon to CO-OP, a mobile rewards app that enables members to access and use their rewards wherever they go – for instance, shopping.


Sometimes being there means literally being there. For those times, nothing puts you in the right place at the right time like a vast network of ATMs. Recent news that ATM fees are on the rise has put surcharge-free ATMs back in the spotlight. Meanwhile, advancements in ATM technology make the user experience more integrated. For example, NextGen ATM by CO-OP brings a shared branching experience to the ATM – giving members the ability to transact between accounts at different credit unions and help themselves to a wide variety of transaction options.

6. CO-OP Locators

New definition of panic: You are five miles from your unfamiliar destination and your smartphone battery goes dead. Finding your way has a different meaning in integrated America: Get on track with locator apps that help your members find you or the nearest CO-OP ATM or Shared Branch location, wherever they are. Batteries sold separately.

Is Your Credit Card Program Integrated Enough For You?

General / by Vice President, Marketing

Is Your Credit Card Program Integrated Enough For You?Do you crave greater integration in your credit union work? We hear you. If you hope to improve your member experience, the tools and processes you use must improve as well. Insight Vault caught up with Jennifer Kerry, Vice President of Credit Issuer Processing at CO-OP Financial Services, to ask a few questions about how CO-OP is applying the idea of integration to its credit programs.

INSIGHT VAULT: We’ve been hearing a lot in the industry about how consumers want integration. Is the same true for credit unions?

KERRY: In relationship to credit card processing, we hear all the time from credit unions that they are looking to streamline and to reduce the amount of friction they experience between systems. What I mean by that is, they want to be able to view member data on credit, debit and ATM without logging into different vendor systems. Ideally, many want to reduce the number of vendors as well, so that they don’t have to worry about competing or incompatible systems.

That desire helped motivate CO-OP to partner with The Members Group for full-service credit processing. Through that partnership, we’ve been able to offer credit unions the best of debit and credit processing in an integrated whole. Our systems work together, and so do we.

Our credit union clients use a single log-in credential for debit and credit card platforms. By making it easier to view member data across platforms, we hope we’re making it easier to understand and put that data to use.

INSIGHT VAULT: Credit also has many components to it. Is there a need for the various components to work together more effectively as well?

KERRY: That’s true in so many ways. For a long time now, speed and integration have been critical in fraud prevention and detection, for example. No one questions the need for the best and fastest integration when the issue is fraud.

But we’re looking to apply the same principles across the board. We know that having a rewards program is table stakes. Now the question is, how easy is it for members to understand and use their rewards? We’re working on some exciting new ideas to make member rewards more engaging – and easy for credit unions and their members to use.

INSIGHT VAULT: Does that create an integration challenge for CO-OP?

KERRY: It’s a challenge we’ve been working toward for years now. The idea is for credit unions to be able to upgrade and enhance their programs easily, without costly and disruptive transitions. By thinking this way, we’ve been able to develop some compelling new APIs we think credit unions – and their members – will love. And they won’t require massive investments of time and resources to get up and running. By making things easy, integration should provide an incentive for credit unions and their members both to add and use the best technology available.

Our work on the front end should save effort for the end user, whether that user is a credit union member or one of our member credit unions.

Learn more about CO-OP Full Service and In-House Credit here.

3 Ways to Sprig Into Action

General / by Senior Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

10-15-14_SprigWith so much activity happening in the payments space, chances are good that you’ve spent much of the last month or two thinking constantly about your members’ payment needs.

But what about your needs?

That question may sound obnoxious, but the concern behind it is valid. In the past several weeks on Insight Vault, we’ve talked at length about integration and speed, including consumer interest in real-time payments. How can your credit union act on these trends?

Coming up fast: CO-OP will be introducing new ways for credit unions to activate Sprig, CO-OP’s mobile shared branching and payments app. What’s new?

  • Real-time, pay-anyone P2P on the Sprig by CO-OP mobile and online apps;
  • Sprig White Label, a brandable, configurable mobile app that also includes real-time P2P, and
  • P2P API, a standalone real-time payments feature that integrates with your apps.

Of course, the launch of real-time P2P payments is bound to be a huge development for your members. With the recent announcement of Apple Pay, consumers are more curious than ever about mobile payments.

Delivering new mobile capabilities – now, while interest is high – is a huge challenge for credit unions. And it’s not just the conceptual hurdles that get in the way. Is new technology easy for you to implement? Does it integrate with your existing systems and strategy? Is the process of acquiring it simple and fast?

Credit unions must contend with their own need for speed. Demand for new technology, faster processes, omnichannel access and instantaneous money movement is not only intense but relentless. Finding products – and partners – that help make fast work of meeting member needs is the real call to action.

How Do You Generate Buzz With New Products?

General / by Vice President, Marketing

How Do You Generate Buzz With New Products?Later this month credit unions will have the chance to introduce a brand new product to their members. CardNav by CO-OP, a mobile app that brings remote control and alerts to members’ credit and debit accounts, will offer cardholders new levels of control and security – all in a brand new, convenient application.

Sounds wonderful, right?

But introducing new products is also a challenge. And never more so than when a product is new and unknown. While everyone knows what a low rate car loan or fee-free ATM is, not many have existing knowledge about card controls and alerts.

How do you spread the word?

Make sure everyone is conversant. One of the benefits of introducing a brand new product is its newsworthiness: People naturally like to talk about new things. Capitalize on that potential. Whether they’re talking to members or friends and family, everyone on staff should be able to highlight the benefits of your new product and demonstrate its features. Check out this short video for ideas.

Share it on social. Is your new product buzzworthy? Share your story on social media. For tips on how to get this going, see “Five Steps to Social Media Genius for Credit Unions” on from social marketing expert Uwe Hook.

Put your marketing muscle into it. Remember that putting a focus on your new technology also puts a spotlight on your credit union’s member experience – which makes your advertising and promotional efforts doubly worthwhile.

Need help with creative? The CO-OP Marketing Portal has an array of customizable ads, ready to promote your brand and your brand new CardNav app – externally and internally as well. To see them all, log into CO-OP Marketing Portal or contact for more information about CardNav.

Evolving at the Speed of Apple?

General / by Senior Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

Evolving at the Speed of Apple?Credit unions may have accelerated their evolution rate in recent years, but since Apple’s announcement last month that a new payment system called Apple Pay is on its way, the speed demands on credit unions have been unprecedented. In order to help credit unions meet those demands, CO-OP has been working to provide information and pave the way for participation. As education and opportunities continue to develop, CO-OP has launched an online Tokenization Resource Center and is hosting a second webinar on November 18 to keep credit unions up to speed.

“CO-OP is working with business partners and clients to make sure credit unions have the technical and marketing education they need to take advantage of the new Apple wallet,” says CO-OP President/CEO Stan Hollen. “This has included not only helping credit unions understand the Apple Pay opportunity, but providing the assistance needed to actually become enrolled as participants.”

CO-OP’s first webinar on tokenization and Apple Pay – which ran in two sessions on September 24 – drew a record audience of 1,100 participants. The follow-up webinar, “Innovations in Payments,” in payments will take place on Tuesday, November 18, at 1 p.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Pacific. Caroline Willard, Executive Vice President, Markets and Strategy, and Michelle Thornton, Manager, Core Products, for CO-OP will reprise their roles as presenters.

In the meantime, CO-OP’s Tokenization Resource Center keeps credit unions up to date with breaking news as well as Frequently Asked Questions, a recording and slides from the September 24 webinar, tokenization-related blog posts and more. Have a question? The site also includes an “Ask the Expert” feature that enables visitors to submit questions for CO-OP’s team of experts.

Moving at the speed of Apple is a new experience for credit unions. And though the experience has brought with it more than a few white-knuckled moments, it’s also revealed something about this industry’s capacity for speed. Working together, we can not only go far: We can go fast.

To register for the webinar, go to:

Lift Your Credit Union by Lifting the Movement

General / by Senior Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

Lift Your Credit Union by Lifting the MovementA post from March 2014 on The Drinks Business website reported on an industry-wide issue that is certainly not confined to the purveyors of adult beverages:

“The wine industry is ‘losing touch’ with Millennial consumers according to a recent study by Wine Intelligence. Exposed to a barrage of drinks offerings, the report found that wine is in danger of losing Generation Y to other more engaging drinks categories such as beer, cider and spirits.”

If the wine industry is soberly pondering how to engage Millennial consumers, it has certainly been true of the credit union industry as well. Credit unions have a lot of offer consumers; yet, studies (once again) show very low awareness of credit union benefits, especially among Millennials.

So, the wine and credit union industries are holding research data in both fists. And, the data loudly points to something that should be part of every organization’s overall marketing strategy – the need to lift the brand of their entire category, along with their own individual brand.

In May, CO-OP launched an industry branding campaign specifically seeking to reach Millennial non-members on behalf of its 3,500 client credit unions. Called “Empowering People. Amplifying Dreams” (, the goal is to educate young consumers on how credit unions can help them to a firm financial footing in life.

In working to attract Millennials to an entire industry, we have keyed in on at least three things:

  • Speak peer-to-peer. You are not necessarily the best person to tell your story. Millennials must tell your story to Millennials. A central focus of our campaign website is the growing library of testimonials of real life (“People Like You”) Millennial members who tell very personal and easily relatable stories about how their credit union has helped them.
  • Fish where the fish are. From the website, visitors can access campaign information on popular social media outlets: You Tube, Twitter and Tumblr. All three take the visitor to sites titled “Innovate Banking,” where content is “aggregated” from a variety of sources to help educate the young consumer on financial options they perhaps hadn’t previously considered.
  • Make it easy. Our website includes a “Find a Credit Union” feature that will help them find a credit union close to them – while they are thinking about it.

There is, perhaps, a fourth key to the campaign. That is – It starts with you.

Credit unions have wrestled for years with how to attract Millennials. Our experience shows that by working with business partners and clients, together we can begin to lift our entire movement.

To learn more about how your credit union can participate in the “Empowering People. Amplifying Dreams” campaign, write to

Real-Time Payments Now, Or Pay Later?

General / by Senior Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

Real-Time Payments Now, Or Pay Later?Last week on Insight Vault, we talked about integration being a function of speed. In this scenario the faster a process unfolds, the better it appears to work.

Apply this logic to the transfer of money, and you see the problem right away. The same consumers who experience instant gratification using speedy technology multiple times each day must wait hours and days for their money to transfer electronically.

Did the transfer go through? Is the system down?

As credit unions look to capture their members’ mobile P2P business, fast transactions would seem to be critical. Though this market is clearly growing, it remains tentative. A survey by FindaBetterBank taken in early 2014 showed a 30 percent increase in consumers who tried mobile P2P between April 2013 and January 2014. But the actual numbers were small: 10.3 percent versus 13.2 percent.

What’s the value of a new user being able to see his or her mobile P2P transaction post instantly? We think it’s pretty high. This is one of the reasons we built real-time shared branching transactions into Sprig by CO-OP. And it’s definitely why we think real-time pay-anyone P2P payments on Sprig – coming next month – are headline news.

Real-time payments enable you to catch up with the speed expectations your members already have. If you don’t catch up now, be prepared to pay later.

Catch up with “Is It Time for Real-Time Payments?,” a CO-OP e-book available for download now. Click here.

Q&A: Charged Up Over Mobile Security

General / by Vice President, Marketing

Charged Up Over Mobile SecurityIs this a good time to talk mobile security? After an eventful couple of weeks in the world of mobile payments, we caught up with Dr. Vaduvur Bharghavan, CEO of Ondot Systems, CO-OP’s partner on the soon-to-be-released CardNav app. We wondered how he was feeling about the potential market for new security-minded apps – the impact CardNav might have.

INSIGHT VAULT: As quickly as you can, how would you describe CardNav?

BHARGHAVAN: CardNav empowers cardholders to “remote control” their payment cards from a smartphone app. Your members can lock or unlock their payment cards with just a tap on the app; specify locations, merchants, purchase methods, and spend limits to control card usage; and act instantly on near real-time alerts. Credit unions are all about member satisfaction, and CardNav promotes this goal by giving cardholders the security they need with the convenience they want.

INSIGHT VAULT: Was the announcement of Apple Pay a good thing or a bad thing for a newly-minted card controls and alerts app about to hit the market?

BHARGHAVAN: Apple Pay in particular, and wallets in general, are complementary to what CardNav tries to do. The purpose of Apple Pay is to make the iPhone your payment card. The purpose of CardNav is to let you determine when and where your payment card can be used, regardless of whether it is the plastic card in your wallet or eCommerce or newer contactless payment methods. CardNav is for cards what mobile banking is for accounts.

INSIGHT VAULT: Will CardNav change users’ relationship with their payment cards?

BHARGHAVAN: We believe so. The payment card today is a lifeless piece of plastic. CardNav allows cardholders to add intelligence to their existing card usage without having to change the payment card. Your members can specify how their own cards and their dependents’ cards can be used, and interact in near real-time when they transact.

INSIGHT VAULT: Are card controls and alerts going to be a Next Big Thing in financial services?

BHARGHAVAN: We believe that card controls will become a “best practice” for payment cards in the industry. With increasing fraud and high profile card compromises occurring monthly, and with increasing sophistication of consumers in using their smartphones, giving consumers control and visibility over their most prolific payment instruments is a natural thing to do.

INSIGHT VAULT: Do you have a favorite CardNav feature?

BHARGHAVAN: My Location. My card should be active where I am, for in-store purchases.

Want to know more? Join CO-OP for a live webinar, “CardNav by CO-OP: Leading the Charge in Card Control,” Wednesday, October 22 at 11 a.m. Pacific. For more information and to register, click here.

Is Integration Really a Need for Speed?

General / by Vice President, Marketing

Is Integration Really a Need for Speed?When we talk about integration in financial services, we mean things like having consistent data and interfaces across channels, or systems that work together and not in parallel or at cross-purposes. We say that integration should be seamless.

But what if we think about integration as a function of speed?

The fact is, many of the functions we hope to “integrate” actually integrate now, after a fashion. A member who deposits a check at a branch will see that deposit reflected on mobile banking – just maybe not right away. A suspicious charge on a member’s card account will trigger an alert, but the member might not be able to take action on it until they can check their account online – or call in to confirm the problem. The issue is resolved eventually, though not in a way that seems easy or efficient.

That perception is everything. Your members don’t want integration because they have opinions about the inner workings of your organization. They want integration because they expect everything to work fast. They want to deposit a check using their phone, see the deposit instantly on mobile banking, and know immediately when it’s safe to begin spending.

When these kinds of instantaneous connections aren’t made, it’s easy for your systems to appear broken. The payment I made to my card account isn’t showing up yet. The transfer I did on online banking doesn’t appear on mobile banking. These systems may integrate over time, but in the meantime members are frustrated.

Among the goals we’re striving toward these days at CO-OP is speed. We’re working on improving the systems behind the scenes, so that actual integration – and acceleration – can occur. We’re offering real-time, person-to-person payments on our Sprig by CO-OP app. We’re about to power up CardNav, a mobile product that provides fast, anywhere control over your members’ card accounts. And we’re adding fast technology, such as the tokenization process required to use Apple Pay, that enables members to enjoy more security, features, access or choices in less time.

It’s integration, yes. But it’s also speed. Because time waits for no one – and neither do your members.

Get up to speed on CardNav in a live CO-OP webinar on October 22. Click here for more.

Will Tokenization Eat EMV’s Lunch?

General / by Manager – Core Products

Will Tokenization Eat EMV's Lunch?With so much news about tokenization this week, it’s easy to forget about that other security issue we’ve been debating about this year: EMV.

In many ways, EMV is tokenization’s opposite twin. EMV adoption has been years in the making. Tokenization hit the scene like a lightning bolt. EMV works with an existing format: plastic cards. Tokenization aims to make plastic cards obsolete. Tokenization carries with it the Apple mystique. EMV? Not so much.

It’s not surprising, then, that many now wonder whether tokenization will eat EMV’s lunch – making the issue of EMV strategy and adoption irrelevant. Who needs EMV when you’ve got tokenization, right?

Well, choosing between tokenization and EMV is a little like choosing between your twin children. It’s the wrong idea. For reasons that go beyond the sentimental, you want both.

In the simplest possible terms, tokenization is designed to enhance security on cardless transactions – mobile and online commerce, as well as contactless point of sale. EMV secures card-based transactions, using a specialized chip housed right in the plastic. Each technology is brilliant at what it does. And each one is less brilliant at standing in for the other.

Interestingly, too, the adoption of one may fuel adoption of the other. That is, the October 2015 liability shift for non-EMV transactions is prompting merchants across the country to convert to EMV-enabled terminals. In the process, they’re getting Near-Field Communications capabilities thrown in for good measure. What powers Apple Pay at the terminal? NFC. Deliberately or not, these two really do work as a team.

So, just as you wouldn’t ask, “Should we prevent fraud or just defend against it?” you don’t have to wonder whether to choose tokenization or EMV. Choose both. Fraud is a nasty business these days. Why not give it a one-two punch?

Have more questions about tokenization? To download CO-OP’s FAQs on Tokenization, click (PDF).