Guest Editorial by Gereen Langmeyer, VP of Product Management at Payrailz
Payments may not always be on the forefront of everyone’s mind, but there are so many exciting things happening in payments right now. So much innovation is taking place behind the scenes in order to create a better user experience on the front end.
With 2022 right around the corner, let’s explore those exciting developments in payments – and most importantly, dive into how credit unions can leverage them to better serve members.
First off, AI has gone from a “pie in the sky” concept to having concrete use cases we can see just about everywhere in our daily lives. An increased dependence on digital over the past nearly two years has transformed AI from a cool, add-on feature to a necessary one. With more people transacting digitally than ever before, AI helps ensure that everyone has access to personalized assistance and recommendations.
Since AI is nearly everywhere today, most people have come to trust it. With that trust comes a multitude of opportunities to leverage AI to make life easier. In retail, AI helps show shoppers items they might be interested in, based on their previous shopping habits. In customer service, AI can help answer customer questions and share the information they need.
When it comes to payments, AI can do a lot of things. It can help users remember to pay their bills on time or give recommendations for saving money. Using the wealth of data that financial institutions have at their disposal, AI can give informed financial advice to any user.
Fraud Detection & Prevention
While it may not be an area many users think about – until they have to, fraud detection and prevention is another area of payments that is changing for the better. Again, with increased digital dependence comes increased cybersecurity concerns. According to PYMNTS, the number of fraud attempts banks faced in 2020 grew by more than 250% due to fraudsters taking advantage of first-time digital banking users’ inexperience with cybersecurity. Especially when it comes to digital payments, people want to know they can move money safely and securely.
This is where behavioral analytics come in. AI is for more than making recommendations. It can look at any user’s behavior, identify any patterns and use those patterns to prevent fraud. These patterns in behavior help determine the intent of the person logging in or sending money. If their behavior strays from the normal pattern, it can be flagged as potentially fraudulent and trigger additional security measures.
The fact that AI has moved the industry from fraud protection to fraud prevention is a major development. Technology is helping keep payments safer and more secure – and saves individuals from even having to deal with fraudulent activity on their accounts.
Another exciting development in payments is the number of rails available for people to choose from – and they’re getting faster, too. Real-time payments (RTP) are the latest rail making its way into payments and will undoubtedly change the way we move money. With the Federal Reserve working on its own FedNow service, instant payments are set to become the new standard in the near future.
With RTP, no one needs to wait a day or two for payments to post, which means everyone can get access to their money when they need it – anytime, any day. In today’s culture, everything is expected to be instant and RTP not only fulfills that expectation, but helps make payments even more convenient for consumers.
On the topic of moving money, it would be remiss not to mention the affect peer-to-peer (P2P) payments have had on the payment world. The option to pay nearly anyone anywhere has brought an incredible amount of convenience to the way we pay.
The fact that the word Venmo has become a verb is all the proof you need. Most people are no longer exchanging cash or checks, but rather sending P2P payments because of just how convenient they are. Sending money directly through an app is easy and keeps people from going out of their way to visit the ATM or their local bank or credit union branch.
The Future for CUs
So, what does this mean for credit unions? So many technologies are changing the payments landscape and the time for credit unions to start using these technologies is now. Not only is keeping up with payment trends important for keeping members happy today, but they are crucial for the credit union’s future success.
Whether implementing AI, fraud protection, new rails or P2P solutions, credit unions must be thinking about their future and what can keep them competitive for years to come.
Gereen Langmeyer is VP of Product Management at Payrailz.