shortcuts and life hacks will always have power

Your members want more shortcuts

Your credit union needs to become a shortcut. A life hack. A pro tip. People love that feeling of skipping the line, of getting the most out of minimum effort.

And credit unions are perfectly positioned to deliver.

Words like “convenience” or “24-hour access” don’t mean much any more. They’re cheesy, misused, and tired.

But shortcuts and life hacks will always have power.

My dream shortcut

Here’s an example of a shortcut I’d love to have: a round-up service on steroids. I’m thinking a little dollop of software that silently rounds up every debit card transaction to the next $1, $5, or even $10 and then scoops the money into one of several labeled savings accounts.

I’d have accounts for “Motorcycles”, “Motorcycle Tires”, “Vacation”, “Anniversary”, etc. Give me complete control over the amounts and destinations through an app and I’m yours forever.

I use my debit card about 60 times a month. If I choose a “next $5” round up, that’s an average of $2.50 per transaction, or about $150 per month, pretty much pain-free. That’s empowering.

I’m in Gen-X, but this sort of thing is also exactly what those mysterious Millennials are looking for. It’s control, power, doing more with what you have. It’s making members’ lives better, something we all claim to do.

Some example shortcuts

There are lots of other shortcut possibilities for credit unions, too. Some that require more vendors, programming, or infrastructure, but some wouldn’t take much besides a policy change, or tossing out some fusty, outdated process.

Here are just a few examples of ways credit unions could add value for their members with shortcuts and innovation:

  • Special limited one-way accounts could make buying and selling online easier and much safer. Instead of linking your main account to a payment or P2P service, link a limited account.
  • Same for a “secondary” credit card with a low limit for online purchases.
  • “Side gigs” are a way lots of people supplement income. How can you set up a shortcut for members to instantly open a “microbusiness” account? What about a “microbusiness” credit card?
  • Speaking of side gigs, do you offer quick loans or leases for Lyft or Uber drivers?
  • Bundle every car loan with a credit card that can be used for tires, maintenance, and repairs, and that gets paid off at the same time the loan is paid off. Extend this concept into other expenses to bundle driving expenses into one payment.
  • Stop offering boring old “auto loans” and start offering “Pickup Truck Loans”, “Mom’s Taxi Loans”, “Family Truckster Loans”, “Dad’s Little Red Sports Car Loans”. People love to personalize.
  • Give members a shortcut in online banking to set up all the savings sub-accounts they want, name them whatever makes sense, and move money between them as they wish. Categorizing and making “piles” like this is a great way for people to make sense of their money. It empowers them, and makes budgeting easier.

Yes, this is Marketing’s job

As a marketer, you are the steward of your brand. You are responsible for giving people reasons to come to the credit union, and it’s your job to differentiate your credit union from all of the other options available.

And ongoing product development is a key element of differentiation. So yes, innovation, products, and policy are your job. Get in there, and get nosy!

Innovation is more important than ever. Younger consumers have grown up completely accustomed to the idea of shortcuts and life hacks. They expect to configure, hack and reprogram everything in their lives.

From a certain perspective, a credit union is just software that handles money.

Whoever offers the most customization, the most life relevance, and the best shortcuts with the least fine print and hassle will gain a huge competitive advantage.

It’s up to you to make sure it’s your credit union.

Brian Wringer

Former watermelon farmer Brian Wringer wears several hats for iDiz Incorporated, including Web Projects Manager, Wordsmith, and Big Idea Guy. He builds better credit unions by day and weird old motorcycles by night.