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3 Reasons Why You Need to Offer Pay by Text—Now

A key element in accelerating receivables is to make it as easy and convenient as possible for customers, members, or policyholders to pay their bills. Electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) solutions like e-bills and online bill pay is a great start. However, with the prevalence of smartphones, it makes a lot of sense to engage with customers on handheld devices. SMS payments, or pay by text, is one of the easiest and safest ways to pay bills. The user doesn’t have to remember passwords or bank details, they need only text. Here are three reasons why you need to offer pay by text—now.   

Text Messaging is Too Big to Ignore

Just how prevalent is text messaging? Five billion people globally have the capability to send and receive text messages. Consumers spend more time texting than any other activity on their phone (e.g., social media, games, shopping, viewing videos). Eighty-eight percent said texting was the number-one thing they use their phone for. Globally, smartphone usage is increasing. It’s expected that by 2025, it will increase to 77 percent of the global population. Add to that a very high rate of engagement for text messages—98 percent of text messages are opened and 45 percent of people reply to branded text blasts they receive—and it’s clear that text messaging is a channel with too much engagement to ignore.

Text messaging is a method of contact that is growing between businesses and consumers. Seventy-one percent of consumers say using text messaging to communicate with a business was effective. From appointment reminders and marketing promotions to bill-ready alerts and notifications, more and more companies are leveraging text messaging as a direct communication channel with their customers.

Simplifying Bill Payments with Pay by Text

Pay by Text helps businesses leverage the power of SMS text messaging to encourage on-time bill payments from their customers. Here are three key benefits.

Benefit 1: Convenience

Payment convenience means meeting your customer or member where they want to pay with how they want to pay. Research suggests that 91 percent of all U.S. mobile users keep their phones within arm’s reach at all times. With that level of engagement and the huge percentage of Americans owning phones that accept SMS text messages, text messaging might be one of the most convenient channels for customer communication. In fact, SMS has a much higher response rate than email or social media—36 percent compared to 3.4 percent for email and 2 percent for social media. Delivering this level of convenience to the bill payment process can encourage on-time, hassle-free transactions in the messaging apps that customers use most.

Benefit 2: Speed

When a customer enrolls in Pay by Text, they can select the alerts and notifications they want to receive. Once enrolled, the system will check for a payment on the alert date, and if there is no payment, it will send a text to the customer. From there, the customer can simply reply with a text that says PAY to initiate a bill payment from the funding source they established in their account. A confirmation is texted back to the device, and the transaction is complete. Eliminating the need to open a browser or login to a user account means a faster bill payment experience for both businesses and consumers.

Benefit 3: Personalization

Customers sign up for Pay by Text and provide information including their mobile numbers, communication preferences, and payment funding methods to complete the enrollment process. In doing so, a highly personalized experience can be delivered. For example, customers can select how many days in advance they want to receive bill-ready alerts (within the biller’s parameters). Giving customers the ability to select when, where, and how these interactions take place can deliver an experience that’s custom-tailored to their needs and preferences.

Simplifying bill payments is all about delivering a user-friendly experience to the channels that customers use most. The ubiquity of mobile devices and extensive use of text messaging makes Pay by Text a natural way to accept bill payments from customers quickly and conveniently.

What about the “unbanked” or “underbanked”? Read: How Do the Underbanked Pay Their Bills? 

Updated from a blog originally published January 12, 2021.

Alacriti’s Orbipay EBPP is a customizable electronic billing and payments solution for businesses and financial institutions of all sizes. Pay by Text is just one of several Orbipay EBPP features available to help you accelerate receivables. For more information, please contact us at

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Holiday Spending Predictions: An Early Start and Unpredictability Ahead

By Beth Phillips, Co-op Director of Strategic Portfolio Growth and John Patton, Co-op Senior Payments Advisor

Holiday shopping season is upon us, and it’s shaping up to be a bumpy ride.

To counteract challenging economic headwinds, major retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart have tried to jumpstart the season with well-promoted early sales days. So far, the results have been mixed, at best.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon’s “Prime Early Access Sale,” held October 11-12, did not meet the high bar set by the company’s normal Prime Day events. Data from Klover showed household spending was down 40% from July’s Prime Day, and research firm Numerator reported that average order size declined by more 22%.

Considering that consumers have been dealing with high inflation and supply shortages throughout 2022, perhaps it’s no surprise they are taking a cautious approach to this year’s holiday shopping season, preferring to wait and see.

Just when you thought this holiday season may return to its staple of offerings – friends, family, delicious meals and more – a rare summer outbreak of bird flu has surged turkey prices up by 73% over last year, afflicting the Thanksgiving celebration staple.

Following are the Co-op SmartGrowth team’s payment trends predictions for the upcoming holiday shopping season, along with some recommendations for how credit unions can meet their members’ payment needs during this busy and critical time of year.

3 Spending Predictions for the Holiday Shopping Season

  1. Retailers Push Early Shopping: As mentioned above, retailers are heavily promoting pre-season shopping days to help consumers reactivate their shopping habits. Those merchants that invested heavily on inventory over the summer are in the most precarious position, and are most likely to offer aggressive pricing discounts as December approaches.
    We predict that consumers will do much of their early shopping online, whereas last-minute shopping will be primarily done in-store.
  2. But Consumers Are Tightening Their Purse Strings: With inflation rising another 8.2% year over year in September, there seems to be no end in sight for ballooning prices, and households are growing increasingly concerned with their ability to maintain budgets. This means that discretionary spending—including gift purchases, travel and entertainment—will likely decline as households struggle to make rent, mortgage, utility and car payments over the coming months.
    We predict that fears around inflation will drive consumers to save more and spend less this holiday season, with many focusing their spending on buying gifts for immediate family members versus extended family and friends.
  3. Shift to Credit for Key Spending Categories: For those shoppers who plan to maintain their holiday gift spending from past years, many will be more likely to put their purchases on credit over debit.
    Co-op’s proprietary spending forecasts show month-over-month increases in credit across a wide range of merchant classifications through the end of the year, including Amazon/Bookstore (34.2% forecasted increase in December), Department Stores (26.5% forecasted increase in October), and Discount Stores (forecasted increase of 14.3% in October).

Consumer spending is always unpredictable, and the traditional holiday shopping season has been upended over the past three years due to a range of unprecedented factors. Variables that may impact our predictions include changes in inflation rates, borrowing rates, unemployment figures and other economic indicators. Of course, COVID is still hanging around, and any surge in cases during the winter months may impact the public’s willingness to do in-person shopping and other outside activities. On the other hand, if economic indicators start to turn to the better, they may give a welcome boost to retailers’ fortunes.

What Credit Unions Should Do Now

Here are a few areas to focus on as your members gear up for this year’s holiday shopping season.

  • Activate your Spend & Get Campaigns: Make sure you’re incenting your members to use your cards when they do their shopping this holiday season, by boosting rewards for select merchant category codes through a Spend & Get campaign. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as offering double or triple rewards points, or even by crediting dollars directly to members’ checking or savings accounts for purchases in certain category codes. And don’t forget about your local merchants!
  • Offer Special Low APRs: With interest rates rising and consumers becoming more cost-conscious, special low rates for purchases are particularly attractive to your members right now. Like Spend & Get campaigns, this is a great way to incent members to keep your cards top of wallet.
  • Promote Contactless and Digital Payments: If you offer contactless cards or digital wallet provisioning in your product toolset, now is the time to promote these methods, as shoppers continue to migrate toward eCommerce and using contactless payment methods in-store.
  • Promote and Grow Your Brand with Member Loyalty StrategiesAccording to Coveo’s 2022 Holiday Shopping report, 67% of consumers are interested in product recommendations with Gen Z (21 to 28 -year-olds) at 40%. This sought-after population continues to place high regard on brand loyalty, especially if its values align and are endorsed by family and friends. What does this mean for credit unions? Use your established member relationships to build your membership through word-of-mouth recommendations; online reviews (make sure you address and respond to each and every review!) and highlight your unique, value proposition and excellent service through omni-channel marketing.
  • Motivate Members to Place Your Card on File: Subscriptions continue to grow in popularity across a wide range of merchant segments, from automobiles to streaming services. Plus, they are a top gift during the holiday season. To ensure your members use your debit and credit cards as the primary payment method for these services, look for ways to educate and promote the benefits and convenience of provisioning your card on file with such services, as well as in popular shopping sites like Amazon, Target and Best Buy.
  • Start Thinking About Balance Transfer Campaigns: Those consumers who do plan to spend this season will likely end up with balances to pay off come January. Why not plan a balance transfer campaign for the first quarter of 2023, when consumers will be seeking relief through low rate offers? It takes time to implement such campaigns, so get started today!

The holidays are here. Give your members something to sing about!

Get the most out of this year’s holiday shopping season by ensuring your credit and debit portfolio is gift-wrapped for the holidays. Activate your data to optimize your portfolio with Co-op. Then put a bow on it with help from Co-op SmartGrowth Consultant Services.

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Mastercard teams up with Marvel Studios’ ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ to spotlight small business superheroes

Support gives fans Priceless experiential screenings, shines a light on Black women small business owners and encourages consumers to shop their businesses

Mastercard announced today its collaboration with  Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, in theaters November 11, to spotlight Black excellence and the irrepressible strength of Black women – both on and off the screen. With Priceless experiences, digital engagements and shoppable content that supports and celebrates the superpowers of Black business leaders, Mastercard is honoring the film’s inspiring message that the spirit of Wakanda is all around us.  

“Through representation and access to tools and resources, Mastercard is proud to honor the Black women-owned businesses that strive for success despite the systemic inequalities they face every day,” said Rustom Dastoor, EVP of Marketing and Communications, Mastercard North America. “When we see role models that look like us, which the film so impactfully demonstrates, it expands our sense of what’s possible, including a more diverse, inclusive economic future.”

In a Wakanda-inspired commercial spot and supporting campaign, Egypt Otis, the owner of Comma Bookstore & Social Hub – a Flint, Michigan small business that specializes in Black and Brown literature, art and music – stars as a real-life superhero by being a role model to a young shopper. The girl realizes through her imagination and interaction with Egypt that superheroes are all around us, igniting excitement for the film, her ambition for the future, and the belief that she herself has that same potential.

“To serve as the face of possibility for aspiring Black women and young girls makes me feel like a superhero of sorts – just for living my truth,” said Otis. “Mastercard’s Strivers Initiative has provided me the resources and platform to help my business thrive and further empower our community, which to me is truly priceless.”

Mastercard’s support of the film is an extension of the company’s $500 million commitment to helping close the racial wealth and economic gap in the U.S. by supporting Black women-owned businesses through its Strivers Initiative, and partnerships with HBCUs and youth groups around the country, as well as Mastercard’s sustained efforts to build a more inclusive digital economy by providing the digital tools to help small businesses get online and thrive

In celebration of the film, select small business owners and youth groups will enjoy exclusive screenings in New York City and Atlanta ahead of the film’s release. Designed to create a multisensory experience, the screenings will feature film-inspired décor, photo opportunities, celebratory food and drink options, a Hall of Heroes video installation honoring attendees and other entrepreneurs, free branded swag and more.

Separately, Mastercard is launching various Priceless engagements and shoppable activations, including:

  • Mastercard Small Biz Marketplace (Instagram): Consumers can discover a reimagined shoppable social experience of exclusively Black women-owned small businesses and products from across the country with opportunities to shop, share & support them directly on Instagram.
  • Social Content Community Series: Unlocking even more consumer power, Mastercard will feature Talia R. Boone, founder of Los Angeles based immersive floral wellness service Postal Petals®Jean Brownhill, founder of online contractor network for Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises Sweeten Enterprise, and Mandy Bowman, founder of the Black-owned business marketplace Official Black Wall Street – in a content series across social platforms, that illustrates their journey to success and impact they make through their business.
  • The Mastercard Small Business Metaverse: in November 2022, Mastercard will launch an immersive virtual reality experience in Meta Horizon Worlds to connect consumers to a world where they can discover a variety of Black-owned small businesses and participate in activities designed to bring to life their unique stories and entrepreneurial journeys. This will be both a space for consumers to engage and learn about new products, and for Mastercard to host custom content bringing together leading entrepreneurs with the next generation.

Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever releases in theaters November 11. For more information, please visit:

Through visitors can learn the financial tools, benefits and education that helps small businesses thrive and Start Something Priceless. 

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PSCU Appoints New Associate Director to Board

October 26, 2022 – PSCU, the nation’s premier payments credit union service organization (CUSO), today announced the appointment of Christine Blake, president and CEO of Cardinal Credit Union (Cardinal), as an associate director to its board. 

“We are pleased to welcome Christine to the PSCU Board of Directors,” said Chuck Fagan, president and CEO of PSCU. “Her proven leadership abilities and drive for uncompromised excellence make her a great fit for our cooperative. We are confident her skills and experience will help support our ability to continue delivering the industry-leading tools, technologies, services and support to which our Owner credit unions are accustomed.” 

Blake has more than 25 years of banking and financial experience. Since 2010, she has served as president and CEO of Cardinal (Mentor, Ohio), which has grown to over $250 million in assets under her leadership. Before joining Cardinal, Blake was a senior manager and CPA at KPMG and an adjunct professor at Lakeland Community College. Appointed by the governor of Ohio, Blake has also served as the Ohio Credit Union League chair, where she supported more than 300 credit unions as an advocate for regulatory change and a steward for educational and professional development. She holds a bachelor’s in accounting from Bowling Green University and earned her MBA from Baldwin Wallace University. 

“PSCU’s board of directors is made up of CEOs from credit unions of all asset sizes and varying fields of membership from diverse geographic locations throughout the country, and these different perspectives contribute greatly to the overall strength of the cooperative,” said Sean Rathjen, chair of the PSCU Board of Directors and CEO of Consumers Credit Union (Illinois). “On behalf of the board, we welcome Christine and look forward to working together to continue building upon PSCU’s success to help its Owner credit unions achieve their objectives and grow in today’s evolving payments landscape.”

Additional PSCU board members include:  

·       Sean Rathjen, CEO of Consumers Credit Union, Illinois (Chair) 

·       Frank Weidner, president and CEO of Wings Financial Credit Union, Minnesota (Vice Chair) 

·       Andrew Rosen, president and CEO of Hawaii State Federal Credit Union, Hawaii (Treasurer) 

·       Cathy Pace, president and CEO of Allegacy Federal Credit Union, North Carolina (Secretary) 

·       Cathie Tierney, president and CEO of Community First Credit Union, Wisconsin (Past Chair) 

·       Craig Esrael, president and CEO of First South Financial Credit Union, Tennessee 

·       Todd Lane, president and CEO of California Coast Credit Union, California (Associate Director)

·       Jeff March, president and CEO of Citadel Federal Credit Union, Pennsylvania 

·       Maria J. Martinez, president and CEO of Border Federal Credit Union, Texas (Associate Director)

·       Mark Robnett, president and CEO of Justice Federal Credit Union, Virginia (Associate Director) 

·       Chris Shockley, president and CEO of Virginia Credit Union, Virginia 

·       Amy Sink, CEO of Interra Credit Union, Indiana 

·       Rob Stuart, president and CEO of OnPoint Community Credit Union, Oregon 

·       Nathanael Tarwasokono, president and CEO of Firstmark Credit Union, Texas 

About PSCU 

PSCU, the nation’s premier payments CUSO, supports the success of 1,900 credit unions representing nearly 7 billion transactions annually. Committed to service excellence and focused on innovation, PSCU’s payment processing, risk management, data and analytics, loyalty programs, digital banking, marketing, strategic consulting and mobile platforms help deliver possibilities and seamless member experiences. Comprehensive, 24/7/365 member support is provided by contact centers located throughout the United States. The origin of PSCU’s model is collaboration and scale, and the company has leveraged its influence on behalf of credit unions and their members for more than 40 years. Today, PSCU provides an end-to-end, competitive advantage that enables credit unions to securely grow and meet evolving consumer demands. For more information, visit

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NetGiver Supports 3 Doors Down’s The Better Life Foundation with Sweepstakes

CUSO is pleased to announce collaboration for good – and a guitar

October 26, 2022 – In an exciting partnership with The Better Life Foundation, Treasure Island Resort & Casino (MN), and Today’s Variety radio station KS95 94.5 (MN), NetGiver is supporting a nationwide giving initiative with sweepstakes. NetGiver, the only digital giving platform that supports 100% no-fee, no-catch donations, has joined with partners to raise awareness and engage donors in the shared mission of making a positive change in the lives of children and young adults. Established in 2004 by the popular rock band 3 Doors Down, The Better Life Foundation’s mission is to make a positive change in the lives of children and young adults. To date, the foundation has raised and distributed over $3,000,000 to reputable charities such as Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, Boys & Girls Clubs and many more to achieve its goals in helping communities and children in need.

Individuals who donate to The Better Life Foundation through NetGiver will be entered to win one of five exclusive prize packages, including a commemorative guitar signed by 3 Doors Down. The sweepstakes will launch on October 25th at 5pm, and continue through the conclusion of the 3 Doors Down concert at Treasure Island Resort & Casino
on November 4th, at 11:59pm. NetGiver and KS95 will be on-site at Treasure Island during the concert to support The
Better Life Foundation and the sweepstakes. In addition to supporting a valuable cause, and the opportunity to win, Treasure Island Resort & Casino will generously be matching the first $250 of every donation, up to a total of $5,000, made through NetGiver to The Better Life Foundation. For further information, visit online at, or
enter by donating on the NetGiver app or at

To learn more about NetGiver, or the Better Life Foundation Sweepstakes:

Miriam Ackerman
Phone: (612) 642-1750
Contact Miriam with questions or additional photo requests