Posted on Leave a comment

2022 NACUSO Network Day 1

Last night was like Christmas Eve to me. I didn’t sleep, tossing and turning, full of anticipation and excitement about the day just around the corner. For months now not a day of my life has gone by that didn’t include something related to this event and like a slingshot pulled back, here it was, poised and ready to go all that was left to do was… let it go (as we are at Disney feel free to sing that in your best Elsa voice).

It’s almost hard to remember life pre-COVID and what the “norms” were then but our team had been watching the data, hoping, willing the numbers to go in a direction that made it possible for us to have the event we pictured in our minds. Today watching that first handshake in the lobby at registration, seeing full smiling faces, friends embracing, hearing voices and laughter echo through the convention center halls filled my heart with joy. It was in that moment that you realize, sure you want all the practical elements of a conference to be great, but what you really need is engaged attendees. People who are happy to be there, who are fostering relationships and learning, who are passionate about our industry, who make all the hard, tedious work worth it just by walking down the hall with a smile on their face.

Thank you for helping us have the most magical day at Disney.

Posted on Leave a comment

PSCU and Amount collaborate to provide credit card origination services to credit unions

April 25, 2022 — PSCU, the nation’s premier payments credit union service organization (CUSO), has announced a new partnership with Amount, a company that offers a full suite of end-to-end omnichannel consumer, small business and buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) solutions. The partnership will provide PSCU Owner credit unions with credit card origination services through a platform optimized to power the credit card experience of today. PSCU has also made an investment in Amount, of which terms were not disclosed.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, consumers have come to expect immediacy. From food delivery to ride-sharing services to person-to-person payment transfers, they do not want to wait – especially five to seven days for a credit card application approval. While many credit unions have successfully adapted their branch experience and contact center processes to meet members’ evolving needs, there are still some experiences that may be less than optimal if they are not truly digital first.

PSCU set out to identify a technology provider with best-of-breed functionality for digital credit card opening and loan origination. Founded in 2020, Amount provides cloud-based lending origination and account opening solutions to some of the nation’s top banking clients. The Amount platform is built by digital lending experts and designed with a simple interface that powers instant approvals to optimize the loan application experience.

“Our new partnership with and investment in Amount will add significant value for our credit unions by enabling a digital-first credit card application experience that is simple to implement,” said Denise Stevens, SVP, chief product & digital officer for PSCU. “In addition to helping grow credit card portfolios, it will drive new member acquisition as consumers can apply for credit union membership while applying for their new card.”

Amount and PSCU’s respective expertise will unlock a best-in-class solution that will help further deepen credit unions’ relationships with members by introducing one of the most sophisticated digital lending solutions in the market, while further enriching PSCU’s industry-leading portfolio of products and services. PSCU is streamlining integration to enable a quick-to-market solution – from its hosted products to its suite of custom APIs. Through this partnership, credit unions will be able to offer a branded, end-to-end solution within a matter of days.

“We intend to help solve a current pain point for many credit unions by providing a seamless, fully-integrated digital account opening solution with real-time lending approvals and immediate access to card credentials via digital banking and mobile wallets,” said Adam Hughes, CEO of Amount. “PSCU’s investment in Amount underscores our mutual commitment to this strategic partnership, and we look forward to working with PSCU to help credit unions win market share and stay competitive in this modern, digital-first landscape.”

PSCU and Amount will discuss this exciting new partnership at a breakout session at PSCU’s Member Forum 2022, taking place this week (April 26-28) in Las Vegas.

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 pscu.com.

 About Amount

Amount helps financial institutions make banking simpler, safer and more convenient with a full suite of end-to-end omnichannel consumer, small business and BNPL solutions. Developed by lending industry experts, Amount’s fully integrated and flexible platform is underpinned by enterprise bank-grade infrastructure and compliance, enabling banks to securely power new and differentiated offerings within months — not years. With Amount, banks can optimize performance across product categories while tapping into various service offerings including customer acquisition, funnel and performance assessments, and risk analytics. Amount clients include financial institutions collectively managing just over $3.1T in U.S. assets and servicing more than 50 million U.S. customers. Visit amount.com for more information.

Posted on Leave a comment

PSCU Payments Index – April 2022 Edition

April 22, 2022 – Today, PSCU – the nation’s premier payments credit union service organization (CUSO) – published the April edition of the PSCU Payments Indexthe goal of which is to provide information and insights to help financial institutions make informed, strategic decisions on the road ahead.

In this month’s iteration, we look at the Labor Department’s April 12 update, which notes the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased to 8.5% in March, a 1.2% seasonally adjusted increase. It is the sixth straight month above 6% and the fastest pace of inflation since 1981. Sectors leading the increases included Gasoline, Shelter and Food, with Gasoline accounting for over half of the total increase. It has now been two months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, leading to multiple waves of sanctions against Russia, including the United States banning the import of Russian oil. This ban further exacerbates rising gas prices that began with a strong economic recovery coupled with low investment in oil production. In this with this, we take a deeper look into the Gasoline sector this month.

The Consumer Confidence Index rebounded slightly in March after declines in January and February. In addition, we saw the continued shift in growth rates with strong consumer spending on credit card purchases up 22% over 2021, and positive growth rate in debit card purchases at 1%.

“Strong consumer spending growth remained throughout the month of March 2022, with softer debit performance skewed by the third round of economic impact payments issued in March 2021,” said Mike Bell, vice president, Insights, PSCU. “This month’s Consumer Price Index reflected the largest 12-month increase in 40 years, with the effect of higher gasoline costs accounting for half of the increase as the world grapples with the effects of geopolitical conflict and, domestically, travel and entertainment activities return to pre-pandemic levels. In this month’s Deep Dive, we explore the Gasoline sector beyond the price increases to identify potential changes in demand. Entertainment led all sectors in March for top growth in both credit and debit purchases, with Gasoline and Travel rounding out the top three.”

A sampling of key takeaways from the April report includes:

  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) for March increased to 8.5% – a 1.2% seasonally adjusted increase and the fastest rate of inflation in 40 years. In March, the Fed increased interest rates by a quarter-point and there is market anticipation of back-to-back half-point increases for April and May.
  • Gasoline prices hit a 14-year high in March at $4.32 per gallon, a 49% increase from March 2021. While year-over-year Automated Fuel Dispenser (AFD) gas purchases were up 65% for credit and 43% for debit, the estimated quantity of gasoline purchased was up 10% on credit cards and down 4% on debit cards.
  • Consumer spending remains strong, with credit purchases up 22% and debit purchases up 1% year over year. Contributing to the markedly lower growth in debit was exceptional spend in 2021 that included the third economic stimulus payment. The Entertainment sector posted top growth rates for credit and debit purchases in March, with Gasoline and Travel rounding out the top three growth sectors for credit and debit purchases.
  • For debit cards, the growth in transactions exceeded the growth in purchase volume, resulting in the first decrease in debit card average purchase in the past two years. For March, the average debit purchase was $47.11, down 1.5% or $0.74 compared to March 2021. The March 2022 average credit card purchase was up 4.6% year over year, hitting a new PSCU Payments Index high at $74.46.
  • The credit card delinquency rate for March was 1.38%, which was 36 basis points lower than the pre-pandemic level of March 2019. The last month when the difference to the pre-COVID delinquency rate was 36 basis points was August 2020.

The full report is available for download here or can be shared as a PDF upon request. Additionally, feel free to subscribe here to receive updates when the PSCU Payments Index is published each month.

Let us know of any questions or additional needs, or if you’d like to coordinate an interview.

Posted on Leave a comment

Alacriti featured in Federal Reserve’s new FedNow Service Provider showcase, expands its unified payments platform for the FedNow Service

April 22, 2022 – 

Cosmos Payments Services Now Includes Support for TCH’s RTP® Network, Visa Direct, and The FedNow Service (coming in 2023) – Providing Multiple Options for Instant Payments and Transfers

Alacriti, a fintech company specializing in payments and money movement, is proud to be featured in the Federal Reserve’s new FedNow Service Provider Showcase, an online resource designed to connect financial institutions looking to adopt and innovate upon the FedNow Service with service providers offering instant payment solutions. In addition, connection to the upcoming FedNow Service is now included in Alacriti’s Cosmos Payments Services to give financial institutions multiple paths forward for faster payments innovation.

Alacriti is also a member of the FedNow Ecosystem Accelerator Group, which helps to influence FedNow design and release priorities and to support and encourage the continued development of the instant payments ecosystem.

Alacriti’s payments service, Cosmos, delivers unified, end-to-end payment orchestration and processing for ACH, Same Day ACH, the Fedwire® Funds Service, TCH RTP® network, Visa Direct, and the FedNowSM Service in a secure, ISO 20022 based cloud-native platform. Cosmos enables financial institutions to deliver innovative faster payment experiences for their customers without having to worry about individual payment rails. It supports interoperability between the TCH RTP network and the FedNow Service and provides a future-proof platform for innovation.

“Alacriti is dedicated to helping financial institutions innovate. In today’s world of ‘instant everything’, the possibilities for faster payments are endless,” stated Manish Gurukula, Alacriti CEO. “We built Cosmos Payments Services to support the connection to all major payment rails from one modern, unified platform. Cosmos features hassle-free integration to the existing core and digital banking systems, and a low cost to market to help deliver on the promise of instant payments.”

About Alacriti

Alacriti is a leading financial technology company with a comprehensive money movement and payments services platform, dedicated to helping clients accelerate their digital transformation. Built on a flexible, cloud-native framework, Alacriti’s array of solutions allows clients to deliver the money movement experiences and payments innovation that today’s users demand, while seamlessly integrating with their internal infrastructures.

Posted on Leave a comment

Digital issuance: A key to digital transformation

By Denise Stevens

As our country turns a hopeful corner on the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer demand for digital experiences in their channels of choice has continued to increase. This has accelerated financial institutions’ plans for the digital transformation of products and services – including digital issuance, as consumers make an ever-larger percentage of purchases through e-commerce.

Digital issuance is the immediate creation of debit or credit card credentials from an issuer’s card management system that can then be push-provisioned into a cardholder’s universal payment wallet that the financial institution supports, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay. Once the card details are tokenized and securely provisioned within a wallet, the digital card can be used right away for purchases. Digital issuance allows cardholders to access their funds immediately if they have a new account or if their card is expired, lost, damaged or stolen. It also provides cardholders with their card details within the issuer’s mobile app so they can enter it online, in card-on-file apps and in other wallets. A physical plastic card is also sent to the cardholder to be used at all merchant locations.

Market Readiness

The market has shown that it is ready to embrace digital issuance, with the use of digital payments becoming more and more mainstream. So, what is driving adoption?

Large financial institutions have introduced the service to millions of consumers, driving market expectations. As consumers transact via e-commerce with more frequency, they have become more comfortable using digital payments. While many providers now see digital issuance as part of the modern cardholder experience, financial institutions see it as a competitive differentiator and are encouraging more cards to be push-provisioned to universal apps to increase the level of tokenized transactions.

Advantages of Digital Issuance

In addition to providing financial institutions with a competitive edge, digital issuance offers several opportunities:

  • Instant Access – Since digital issuance allows a card to be used immediately, a financial institution can avoid the standard five- to seven-day delivery time for a plastic card and encourage more transactions during that time on the existing account.
  • Customer Loyalty – A financial institution can solve card issues immediately, impress cardholders with a superior service response, and avoid having a cardholder turn to another brand’s banking solution while their card is being replaced.
  • Retailer Apps – There has been a major increase in retailer-specific apps which often have discounts or other user benefits attached. Cardholders who have received their card credentials through digital issuance at your financial institution can enter their information on apps for their favorite stores.
  • Security – Fueled by the demand for contactless payment solutions as a result of the pandemic, research finds that 52% of consumers now believe that mobile payments are more secure than card payments. You can show your customers that your financial institution is committed to providing the most secure banking solutions by implementing digital issuance.

Implementing a Digital Issuance Strategy

Thinking of diving into the world of digital issuance? Consider following these steps to implementation:

  • Think about the use cases for digital issuance. This includes events that create new and replacement card scenarios, like when a card is reissued after expiring or replaced after fraudulent charges are reported.
  • Consider all the different channels that are applicable, including in-branch, through a contact center, automatically, online or through your mobile app.
  • List out all the systems where there is interaction. This can include your core processing system, card management platform, teller system, digital systems and user interfaces.
  • Plan the progression of your digital issuance rollout. Typically, financial institutions use an iterative process, choosing a use case or two as a starting point, gaining insight and then progressing with the remaining scenarios.

An ever-increasing number of cardholders trust digital payments and enjoy the convenience of purchasing goods through e-commerce. In order to compete, financial institutions must consider introducing digital issuance to create a great first impression and provide an excellent service response and member experience.

Mercator Advisory Group’s white paper, “Digital Issuance: Key to Any Digital Transformation Strategy,” sponsored by PSCU, provides credit unions with the information needed to promote the launch of digital issuance within their own organization and a high-level understanding of how to approach its integration. Download the full white paper today.

Denise Stevens is responsible for product management, new product development, digital experience and innovation at PSCU. Before returning to PSCU in 2015, Denise spent two years deepening her field knowledge of credit unions as Executive Vice President at PSCU Owner Vantage Credit Union in St. Louis. Prior to her tenure at the credit union, she spent seven years at PSCU, where she ultimately operated as the Vice President of Innovation & New Product Development. Denise’s career also includes roles as Business Leader at Mastercard, Paymentech and Equifax.

Original Post