The Official CO-OP Financial Services Blog

CO-OP Financial Services Blog: Insight Vault

Did Apple Create a Tokenization Crisis?

General / by Manager – Core Products

Did Apple Create a Tokenization Crisis? Remember when you thought tokenization was a low priority for 2014? Chances are, that era ended on September 9. When Apple announced Apple Pay – a mobile payments app that uses near-field communication and tokenization to provide secure, contactless, seamless iPhone and iWatch payments – thousands of credit union executives nationwide immediately wanted to know more.

Since then, we’ve had a moment to process. You can get up to speed – and relatively quickly. Here’s some good news on getting from here to there:

You have time.

Admittedly, you don’t have a lot of time. The first iPhone 6 orders ship this Friday, September 19. But Apple Pay won’t be available until an October software update is released, leaving credit unions a small window. Also, though pre-orders have been impressive, the iPhone 6 will inevitably roll out over time as wireless service contracts run their course. Bottom line: Your deadline is coming, but it certainly hasn’t passed.

You are closer than you think.

Though relatively few credit unions are already using tokenization, this is not a technology that is years away from meaningful deployment. In fact, processes are taking shape and nearly ready to go.

From CO-OP’s perspective, what remains is nailing down the details on important issues such as enrollment processes and financial impact. Because we know that time is of the essence, CO-OP is working to ensure that member credit unions can offer tokenized payments without disruptive technical issues.

You have an opportunity.

There’s an undeniable opportunity in fast-tracking tokenization. Not only can credit unions participate in a ground-breaking, Apple-quality rollout, but they will put themselves in position to promote secure cardless payments across the board.

The high profile that comes with the launch of Apple Pay brings with it the chance to spotlight all of the ways your credit union is keeping pace with technology, offering the latest in security and providing everyday convenience for your members. Apple didn’t create a tokenization crisis for credit unions. It created an opportunity to shine.

Learn more about how credit unions can plug into tokenization and Apple Pay at a live CO-OP webinar on Wednesday, September 24 at 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern. For information and to register, click here.

CO-OP Presents Tokenization Webinar Sept. 24

General / by Senior Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

CO-OP Presents Tokenization Webinar Sept. 24With an emphasis on exploring new member engagement and revenue opportunities for credit unions, CO-OP Financial Services will present a free webinar September 24 on “Tokenization, NFC and Apple Pay.”

The September 9 announcement on Apple Pay has generated almost unprecedented interest by consumers and institutions alike in this new mobile payment system, and on the facilitating Tokenization process and NFC standard. CO-OP believeS this important industry development means greater security for members and new revenue opportunities for credit unions.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, September 24, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. The event will be presented by Michelle Thornton, Manager, Core Products, and Caroline Willard, Executive Vice President, Markets and Strategy. To register for the event, visit

Among the issues the webinar will address include:

  • Card tokenization, Near Field Communication (NFC) and Apple Pay terms and technology.
  • Questions pertaining to enrollment.
  • Benefits to members and opportunities for member engagement.
  • Revenue and growth opportunities for credit unions.

For more information, visit, and again, to register for the webinar, visit

6 Must-Reads for Credit Unions

General / by Senior Manager, Market Analysis

6 Must-Reads for Credit Unions It’s all coming together. As we examine the topic of integration this month, here’s a look at how new technologies are pushing banking behaviors forward, and simultaneously converging to create new experiences in mobile payments, branch transformation, card security and more.

Will “Apple Pay” Pay Off?

It finally happened. This week Apple jumped into the fray with the announcement of Apple Pay, described in this article as “a compelling mix of NFC technology, tokenization, biometrics and must-have mobile form factors.”

MCX: M-Commerce Jackpot in Store?

Meanwhile, merchant-backed network MCX revealed its new m-commerce platform, CurrenC. Will consumers finally plug in?

PayPal Fuels Creative Alliance

Check out this PayPal-based closed-loop app for convenience store and gas station operator MAPCO Express. Since PayPal pushes ACH, they can afford to discount the gas by five cents per gallon.

Will EMV Ignite Mobile Payments?

As credit unions contemplate EMV conversion, here’s a scenario in which both EMV and mobile payments catch fire. This may be the moment for critical mass.

New Options for Mobile Security?

Speaking of security, did you know that 77 percent of consumers are “very interested” in receiving alerts about suspicious activity on their card accounts? How do credit unions fill that need?

Branch Transformation Changes Diebold

Finally, as consumers become increasingly connected to self-service technology, how will Diebold guide branches to the future?

Back to School Spending Increases, CO-OP Revelation Data Shows

General / by Senior Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

Back to School Spending Increases, CO-OP Revelation Data Shows Back to school spending in anticipation of the 2014-15 school year was robust in August, with a 9.2% increase recorded across 25 merchant types compared to August 2013.

Merchants offering computer software, stores selling elementary/secondary school supplies and bookstores were particularly busy leading up to Labor Day, according to an analysis of debit card transactions by CO-OP Financial Services and Saylent.

An increase in the number of transactions – up 7.9% – holds the key to the 9.2% spending increase. The amount-per-transaction rose only 1% – $50.72 in 2014 from $50.12 in 2013. So, credit union members were individually spending about the same amount, but there were more members making back-to-school purchases this year.

This analysis of sales is based on transactions made during August, with results covering debit card activity nationwide by members of credit unions that use CO-OP for transaction processing. The year-over-year comparison was performed through an advanced analytics solution, CO-OP Revelation, powered by Saylent, and was conducted by Saylent’s Insight360 consulting team.

Among the highlights of the CO-OP Revelation data:

  • Total spending at the selected back-to-school merchant categories for August 2014 was $715.2 million compared to $654.9 million in August 2013, a 9.2% increase. The total number of transactions recorded in 2014 was 14.1 million versus 13.067 million in 2013, a 7.9% transaction increase.
  • Computer software was the merchant category with the biggest jump in 2014 compared to 2013, with spending up 44.3% and transaction volume up 48.5%.
  • Elementary/secondary school supplies stores achieved a spending increase of 29.3% and a transaction increase of 39.7%.
  • Bookstores realized a 20.1% increase in spending and a 24.1% increase in transactions.
  • Telecom spending rose 16.5% and transactions increased by 15.5%.
  • Department and stationary stores are the only groups where spending and transaction volume dropped in 2014 compared to the previous year.

For more information on CO-OP Revelation, click here.

Destination Integration: 10 Perks You Can’t Overlook

General / by Vice President, Marketing


More than a buzzword, integration now dominates conversations about member experience and technology. If you’re looking toward the future, you must provide a seamless, omnichannel, frictionless experience.

But integration is also about operations: How will data from your card accounts inform service at your call center? Can integration help you run a better credit union?

We suspect so. What can integration deliver?

  1. Control. Technology is rampant, which is another way of saying it sometimes feels out of control. Integration tames the savage beast. By forcing various elements to work effortlessly and in concert, integration makes your technology – and therefore your credit union – easier to manage and use.
  2. Convenience. It’s just plain better to do more with less effort.
  3. Security. To be sure, new integration-oriented products can enhance security. The soon-to-be-released CardNav by CO-OP, for example, enables members to turn cards on and off, set usage rules and limits, and receive security alerts via text. But CardNav-enabled accounts aren’t just more secure: They feel more secure. As difficult as it is to deliver enhanced security, it’s even rarer to achieve that sense of trust.
  4. Efficiency. Integration saves time and effort, but it can also make you more effective. Sprig by CO-OP allows your members to view account balances across multiple shared branching credit unions and make loan payments from one credit union to another – and then check their transactions online at their convenience. This creates an efficiency that didn’t exist before. Bonus: Seamless processes are more efficient for you, too.
  5. Intelligence. Integrated transactions leave a data footprint, the better to help you fine-tune your efforts, spot security issues, create micro-targeted marketing and anticipate member needs.
  6. Consistency. Just as bumps in the road are more noticeable at high speeds, quirks in your member experience stand out when members are interacting more frequently. An integrated experience is a consistent one.
  7. Branding. With consistency comes branding. For better or worse, members associate your brand with a particular experience. The more integrated that experience is, the more positive that association will be.
  8. Engagement. Simply put, members who are given powerful, usable tools to do more, will do more.
  9. Capacity. Streamlining creates capacity. It’s oversimplifying to say that members who aren’t spending eight minutes logging into multiple systems to get a simple account balance will be more inclined to apply for a loan – and that frontline staff who aren’t consumed with manual processes will be able to cross-sell with abandon. However, it is not a stretch to say that freeing up space makes room for possibilities.
  10. Actualization. Integration isn’t the answer to everything. But if the goal is to provide a better, deeper, more delightful member experience, integration goes a long way. And if, concurrently, your credit union needs to become more efficient, effective, proactive and relevant, then integration will help there too.

Learn more about the road ahead for credit unions – including why “Integration Is the New Black” at CO-OP’s regional THINK It Out events this fall. Click here for more details. 

CO-OP, Saylent Track Card-Related ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Donations

General / by Senior Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

It was all the rage in August – but what was the result?3-11cc

Almost everyone has seen the videos of friends, family, celebrities and many others dumping ice water over their heads as part of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. While it has been a highly successful social media initiative, it’s been shown that increased awareness of ALS was not the only accomplishment. Donations to the charity have escalated significantly.

Saylent, which provides data analytics software for financial institutions, and CO-OP Financial Services analyzed ALS donation-related debit card transactions conducted by members of CO-OP’s credit union clients. The analysis was done on a sample of 70 out of 900 credit unions. Analysis comparing August 1-18, 2013 to August 1-18, 2014 found:

  • Debit card-based ALS contributions have increased dramatically since the Ice Bucket Challenge started. For example, these members increased their ALS merchant-related transaction volume by 426 percent and ALS merchant-related transaction spend by 384 percent.
  • Donors are younger than they have been in the past as a result of the Challenge.  The average age of these ALS donors in August 2014 is 38, versus an average age of 45 during the same period last year.

“The credit union movement has always been characterized by a people helping people ethic, dedicated to making local communities better,” noted Stan Hollen, President/CEO of CO-OP. “The donations to the ALS Association in the past month shows that tradition springs from the members themselves.”

The results cover donations-related debit card activity by members of credit unions that use CO-OP for transaction processing. The comparisons were performed through CO-OP Revelation, powered by Saylent, and conducted by Saylent’s Insight360 consulting team.

How CardNav by CO-OP Helps Those Who Help Themselves

General / by Vice President, Marketing

02-xxWhatDoUThink2As CO-OP readies the launch of its new card controls and alerts product, CardNav by CO-OP, we’re reminded that the trend toward self-service comes with a big, bold asterisk attached. To paraphrase an old expression, someone must help those who help themselves.

What do we mean?

Egged on by technology and the burgeoning DIY movement, people are more and more enthusiastic about doing things themselves – from tiling their own backsplashes to firing off loan applications in the middle of the night. CardNav plays right in to this trend. By placing control over payment card account settings squarely in the palms of your members’ hands (or, more accurately, on their mobile devices), CardNav gives members the self-control they crave.

With CardNav, members can:

  • Turn cards on and off
  • Set spending and/or geographical limits on card use
  • Establish types of transactions allowed
  • Receive and respond to text alerts
  • Manage settings on the fly using their mobile devices

We predict CardNav will be a hit with members. But just as middle-of-the-night loan applications lead to all-hours calls to your member support center, and do-it-yourself remodeling leads ineffably to the HGTV empire, card control support calls will require credit unions to roll up their sleeves and help.

Now, here’s the thing: CardNav has built-in administrative controls for credit unions via an easy-to-use management console (mConsole). So when your members call to report their phone stolen, or to say their settings are stuck, or to confess they’ve forgotten what their settings are, the CardNav mConsole enables you to see what’s going on. Using the mConsole, you can turn accounts on and off, monitor activity, reset passwords and settings, and more.

Why does this matter? The trend toward self-service and remote controls gives your members the opportunity to enjoy greater engagement, access, security and control. But let’s be honest: Sometimes your members are going to need a little help. Whenever you think of adding new self-service technology, don’t forget to add in the component of real, human service as well. Helpful beats helpless every time.

To learn more about CardNav by CO-OP, click here.  

Amplify Your Impact with Miracle Match

General / by Vice President, Marketing

826Looking to have an impact with your charitable efforts? CO-OP Financial Services is supporting Shop for Miracles, a one-day charitable program to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, taking place on October 16, International Credit Union Day. By partnering with CO-OP, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the World Council of Credit Unions and CMN Hospitals on this event, your credit union supports a great cause while amplifying member engagement.

The idea behind Shop for Miracles is simple. Each time members use their credit union-issued credit or debit card on October 16, credit unions participating in the Shop for Miracles program will donate $0.25 or a pre-determined amount to CMN Hospitals.

Joining Shop for Miracles gives your charitable efforts cooperative impact:

  1. Raise awareness by raising more money. CO-OP will provide CO-OP Miracle Match funds starting at dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000 for approved credit union applications.
  2. Highlight your cooperative spirit. In addition to pointing out your individual credit union’s fundraising success, you can point to the more than $100 million credit unions have raised for CMN Hospitals since CU4Kids started in 1996.
  3. Get promotional support. Put your cause front and center with member-facing collateral material that helps you promote Shop for Miracles. For details click here.

“Last year we sponsored a pilot program with the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues which resulted in CO-OP providing a match of more than $27,000 to the funds raised by 11 participating credit unions,” said Stan Hollen, President/CEO, CO-OP. “In 2014 credit unions across the country have the opportunity to support their local children’s hospital and be engaged in their communities in a very meaningful way on International Credit Union Day.”

“CO-OP’s support is another example of the company’s fund raising leadership for CMN Hospitals, which provide desperately needed medical services to sick and injured children regardless of the family’s ability to pay,” said Joe Dearborn, Senior Director, CMN Hospitals. “The credit union industry is the third-largest donor to CMN Hospitals through Credit Unions for Kids fundraisers, and we are very grateful to the movement’s support again in 2014.”

CO-OP Financial Services is accepting applications for Shop for Miracles matching funds immediately, with a deadline of September 30. For an application, click here

Earthquake Serves as Preparedness Reminder

General / by Senior Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

Earthquake Serves as Preparedness ReminderThe magnitude 6.1 earthquake that struck yesterday morning in Napa, Calif., serves as a reminder for vigilant disaster preparedness, as members depend on their credit unions more than ever in times of emergency.

September, in fact, is National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which aims to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies.

Now is the perfect time to remind your members of the unique role shared branching can play in their lives, in normal circumstances – and in not-so-normal circumstances.

Sarah Bang, Chief Strategy Officer, CO-OP Shared Branching, had the opportunity today to remind readers of CUNA News Now of the essential role shared branching played during Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans nine years ago this week.

The story reports “Bang said the shared branch network set up special identification policies for members who were without wallets or identification. ‘Imagine how those members felt when they were able to get $200 from the credit union,’ she said.”

The story continued: “But how do credit unions educate members about shared branching? ‘Just tell them,’ (Bang) said. ‘Reward them with this value that your credit union gives them.’ Make sure staff and call centers can tell members where to find a shared branch, either directing them to a website, an app or other location that will make it clear they can access credit union services elsewhere.”

Studies find that about 50 percent of credit union members understand the premise of shared branching. It’s not only time to acquaint that other 50 percent, but also remind those that do understand shared branching of the many ways it can serve them.

The CO-OP Shared Branch network now comprises some 5,300 branches and 2,200 standalone locations nationwide, all of which can be found at

Now is the time for member education for another reason. Let it not be forgotten, as the children of members now leave home for school, that they can conveniently access their home credit union accounts by working with a participating shared branching credit union in their college town.

Again, to read the CUNA News Now story in full click here, and you can learn more about CO-OP Shared Branching here.

8 Good Reasons to Give Your ATMs a Remote

General / by Vice President, Marketing

8 Good Reasons to Give Your ATMs a RemoteOperational news flash: Easier is better.

As credit unions work furiously to provide more and better convenience technology to their members, they might pause to consider whether available technology might make their own lives easier and better – and improve the member experience in the bargain. CO-OP ATM Visual Control with the new Remote Manager function allows for easy, efficient remote management of your ATM fleet.

How does this help you? Let us count the ways:

  1. Remote ATM management goes beyond monitoring. So, not only will you know when there’s a problem, but you’ll also have tools to fix it.
  2. A state-of-the-art system works with all of your existing technology and manages your asset information. You won’t have to remember which operating systems, hardware configurations and application versions you’re running: Your system will.
  3. You can perform maintenance remotely during off hours.
  4. Enhanced management capabilities mean you can save yourself the trouble and expense of hiring and dispatching technicians at every turn.
  5. Less downtime.
  6. Using customizable transaction screens, you can control the visual elements on your ATMs – logos, backgrounds, additional languages and headers. Translation: Better results, less work.
  7. Reboot remotely.
  8. Simplify electronic journal management with a single, efficient application.

Making ATM management easier also makes it better: less labor-intensive and costly, less confusing and overwhelming, less haphazard and anxiety-inducing. ATM technology is supposed to be convenient. Shouldn’t it be convenient for credit unions as well?

To learn more about CO-OP ATM Visual Control, read the white paper here (PDF).