5 Credit Unions Share How To Onboard EMV, Apple Pay, And RDC

Pre-launch marketing, follow-up surveys, and individual attention are ingredients in the not-so-secret sauce for success.

EMV. It’s easy as 1-2-3. But credit unions need to properly onboard if they want their members to understand those new cards with chips in them.

Newspaper ads and eye-catching email art are two ways that Missoula Federal Credit Union ($416.69M, Missoula, MT) has taken on the task of touting the availability of the new fraud-fighting plastic, which like remote-deposit capture and Apple Pay, are raising the bar for credit unions that want to get members up and running on new tech tools.

This is the EMV promotional icon that Missoula Federal Credit Union adds to credit union emails.

The 44,000-member Montana credit union was an early EMV adopter, issuing its first chip-enabled credit cards last December. Because it had just issued traditional magnetic stripe-only cards as part of a processor conversion to CO-OP Financial Services, MFCU gave members the option to ask for the EMV cards to accommodate international travelers who had been requesting them and will issue the chip cards going forward for the remaining members. There’s no rush yet, as few retailers have chip card readers in place.


CENTRA Credit Union
Data as of 03.31.15

  • HQ: Columbus, IN
  • ASSETS: $1.29B
  • MEMBERS: 130,876
  • BRANCHES: 23
  • 12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 2.82%
  • 12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 10.42%
  • ROA: 0.91%

Knowing few members would be able to use the cards right away, we chose a soft rollout, says Jean Nelson, the credit union’s eBranch manager.

To promote the availability of its EMV cards, MFCU advertised in local newspapers and included messaging on lobby and branch signage and the credit union website. It also included a promotional icon on employee email signatures. But that’s not the only way it relies on staff.

Our contact center staff educate members about the EMV card whenever they have a credit card holder or international traveler on the line, Nelson says. They explain what the card is, how it works, and why we want to get them switched.


digital federal credit union
Data as of 03.31.15

  • HQ: Marlborough, MA
  • ASSETS: $6.28B
  • MEMBERS: 492,499
  • BRANCHES: 23
  • 12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 11.91%
  • 12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 16.21%
  • ROA: 1.24%

The Big Sky credit union is on the right track, according to a new Javelin Research report that says EMV issuing, acceptance, and awareness are all lagging ahead of the Oct. 15 liability shift, when the big issuers will hold the least protected party in the transaction holding the bag in a breach.

The report titled State of EMV Cardholders: Opportunities to Capitalize on the Halo Effect recommends using multiple channels to inform consumers about the security benefits of EMV.

Neglecting cardholder education on EMV is a squandered opportunity for banks to shine, says Nick Holland, the think firm’s head of payments. The halo effect from EMV will not last long only a few short years because of the normalization process of EMV in the public domain. For FIs to capture consumer attention, they need to proactively educate across a variety of media.


idaho central Credit Union
Data as of 03.31.15

  • HQ: Pocatello, ID
  • ASSETS: $1.97B
  • MEMBERS: 189,968
  • BRANCHES: 26
  • 12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 18.78%
  • 12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 29.25%
  • ROA: 1.41%

The report also says 47% of the EMV cardholders Javelin studied claim they learned about EMV from their primary financial institution via printed collateral. That’s one way Alliant Credit Union ($8.32B, Chicago, IL) is onboarding its new EMV users.

We created a custom card carrier that explains what the EMV cards are, how they’re different, says Maria Donoulis, Alliant’s card services manager. That includes positioning the new card as chip-enhanced and FAQs that describe the security improvements.

Read more about EMV deployment in 5 EMV Decisions Every Credit Union Must Make.

The Windy City-based credit union has issued 15,000 EMV cards so far. And although the custom card carriers cost more than the generic ones the credit union typically uses to mail new plastic, it’s worth it, Donoulis says.

We want the member to truly know what this is, she says.

All In For Apple Pay

The rush is also on to roll out Apple Pay. Hundreds of credit unions have signed up to offer the mobile payment option, which like EMV cards, also depends on an appropriately equipped POS terminal.

That infrastructure change is further along, however, and Alliant now has 2,225 accounts enrolled in the service. An early adapter, Alliant learned some lessons during the rollout.


alliant credit union
Data as of 03.31.15

  • HQ: Chicago, IL
  • ASSETS: $8.32B
  • MEMBERS: 285,232
  • BRANCHES: 13
  • 12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 0.30%
  • 12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 9.32%
  • ROA: 0.82%

Don’t assume anything and ask a lot of questions, Donoulis advises.

When Alliant was about to launch credit card support for Apple Pay, it realized a contract disclosure required the credit union to take 90% of its card portfolio live at the same time.

That meant we had to launch both credit and debit cards at the same time, Donoulis says. We didn’t know that until the last minute.

Donoulis also recommends advertising Apple Pay’s arrival a month ahead of time, if possible, although Alliant’s plans to do that were complicated by the fact the live date kept moving. Despite that, more than 200 members signed up for the service even before the credit union announced its availability. How did they do this? They found it on Apple’s own online listings.

Laura Smith at Idaho Central Credit Union ($1.97B, Pocatello, ID) knows the feeling.


missoula federal credit union
Data as of 03.31.15

  • HQ: Missoula, MT
  • ASSETS: $416.69M
  • MEMBERS: 43,798
  • 12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 4.10%
  • 12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 15.07%
  • ROA: 1.22%

People who are interested in Apple Pay tend to inquire about it, says the public relations manager. ICCU went live on Apple Pay in December and is now approaching 10,000 transactions.

Usage is climbing slowly as merchant and iPhone 6 adoption are increasing, and we expect it to increase drastically in the near future, Smith says.

According to Smith, ICCU used email, its website, and social media to advertise Apple Pay’s availability and now has a webpage dedicated to it.

And additional onboarding tactics take place behind the scenes.

We felt it was important to educate our team members about Apple Pay so they understood how it worked, as well as some of the additional security features that could help prevent potential fraud, the ICCU spokeswoman says. This process worked well for us.

Missoula Federal Credit Union placed this print ad locally to tout the credit union going first in its market with EMV cards.

Reaching Out With RDC

Member follow-up is a big part of mobile check deposit strategy at credit unions that are both new to the RDC game and for old hands. One of the latter is Digital Federal Credit Union ($6.28B, Marlborough, MA), which has seen RDC use grow dramatically since launching it through Vertifi in April 2010.

We’re proud to be one of the first credit unions to provide this service, says Gereen Langmeyer, electronic services manager at DCU. There wasn’t member demand for this product when we chose to go live. It was more about providing a great new tool, and members love it.

Year iPhone Deposits Android Deposits Android Deposits iPad Deposits iPad Amount Android Tablet Deposits Android Tablet Amount
2011 129,272 $107,886,448.41 61,365 $40,545,110.76 4,696 $3,201,594.00
2013 450,290 $365,276,554.00 195,887 $158,712,947 43,189 $35,825,952.00 1810 $2,159,020.32
2014 550,575 $445,765,258.00 272,284 $222,549,302 51,650 $41,004,625.00 2131 $2,163,501.45
2015 – June 371,105 $314,667,922.00 185,254 $145,907,638.00 26,560 $21,884,430.00 1,513 $1,243,480.00

DCU markets RDC through traditional channels as well as secure messages to members reminding them of its benefits and ease of use.

We now generally market RDC for the mobile app and tablets, Langmeyer adds.

That communication continues once members begin using RDC, including emails that advise members when the credit union releases or rejects a deposit it was holding for review.

We have a few individuals that specialize in handling RDC items and daily functionality, Langmeyer says. This helps us mitigate risk and make sure we’re providing the best experience possible, especially due to the volume we have.

In addition to transparent communication and behind-the-scenes expertise, Langmeyer says credit unions can improve adoption and member experience by reviewing profiles and processes at least annually and making adjustments as needed. DCU also uses an online survey tool to solicit feedback.

Here’s something you need to think about if you’re getting ready to launch RDC, Adrian says. We did our research and found out that a two-day hold was typical for a mobile deposit, same as at an ATM. But that caught some members by surprise. Educating people about that was probably our biggest member service hurdle.

If any issues are reported, we contact the member individually and work with them to help correct it, Langmeyer says.

Follow-up is also important to RDC success at Centra Credit Union ($1.29B, Columbus, IN), which launched mobile deposit in July 2014 through Fiserv Mobiliti. There, chief systems officer Norb Adrian says RDC now accounts for approximately 2% of check deposits, to the tune of about 2,000 a month averaging $250 each.

We’d like to get that up to 10% in the near future, Adrian says. Then we would see some benefit from the drop of transactions in our branches.

To help make that mark, Centra includes RDC in its member surveys and focus groups.

We’re particularly doing focus groups with millennial members, Adrian says. We want to know what their needs are and what they would like to see.

Important for onboarding and adoption, the Centra systems officer says don’t assume members know how the whole thing works, even if it’s in the fine print of disclosures.

We did our research and found out that a two-day hold was typical for a mobile deposit, same as at an ATM, Adrian says. But that caught some members by surprise. Educating people about that was probably our biggest member service hurdle.

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July 13, 2015

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