Payment Preferences Have Changed This Year

Since the start of the pandemic, new and expanded technology has become a way to move through the world safely. And that means your credit union’s contactless payment solutions are probably here to stay.

Here are some of the ways payments have changed this year, and how those changes may look in the future.

Contactless Is Key

As of July 2020, the NAFCU reported a “259% year over year increase in contactless volume.”

Contactless transactions and operations are safer during this pandemic, but there’s no denying that many of these options are also more convenient for Americans, especially right now as they juggle remote work, online schooling with their children, and other COVID-related changes.

A study done recently by Mastercard shows that 46% of cardholders have moved their contactless cards to the Top-of-Wallet positions in their physical and digital wallets.

Online Shopping Is Preferred in 2020: Banking Trends Are Shifting, Too

This holiday season, 77% of online shoppers are planning to do more than half of their holiday shopping online. 

Credit unions often struggle to adopt the latest technology, but that will have to change as the future is becoming more and more digitally-based. Consumers, shoppers, and credit union members are increasingly trusting of online banking and payment technologies.

Some good news here for credit unions is that mobile payments are taking a backseat to contactless cards for the top payment method. Credit unions can work with this by increasing those contactless options with their credit and debit card offerings.

Moving Forward

These payment preferences may have been impacted by the protocols and changes COVID-19 has affected, but the trend toward digital and contactless transactions is here to stay. So what does that mean for your credit union?

It will be wise to plan on implementing and bolstering contactless card options – for debit and credit card options. This could include promoting these contactless options in everyday purchases, like grocery and pharmacy expenses, as well as highlighting the health and hygiene benefits of contactless payments.

74% of MasterCard customers state they will continue using contactless payments as a primary practice post-pandemic, according to a report in April of 2020. And these trends have only gotten more popular as the pandemic continues to impact the activities of daily life.

Upgrade Your Business-Facing Technology, Too

The customer-facing technology updates are only as good as their back-end support and infrastructure. IMS has a host of virtual private cloud and other tech services for credit unions. If you are interested in upgrading some of your technology with core hosting, virtual desktop, and disaster recovery tools, contact us today.

Black Friday vs Cyber Monday

Is One Better Than the Other?

holiday shopping 2018 IMSBlack Friday, or Cyber Monday? While there are obvious differences between the two – in-store vs online – there’s been a bit of a debate regarding which of the two will garner the best deals.

For some, having the option of skipping in-person, retail craziness is enough to sway them towards preferring Cyber Monday. For others, it’s a yearly tradition with family and friends; completing all holiday shopping before 8:00 am.

According to the National Retail Foundation, more than 174 million shoppers in the United States took to brick and mortar and online stores, from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday 2017, spending $7.5B on Black Friday alone!

It is no secret that there are amazing deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you do a bit of research, you’ll most likely find fantastic finds, both online and in-store. According to experts, the better of the two depends on what you are interested in buying. So, let’s break it down and save some cash!

When to Shop for What

Believe it or not, depending on what you are shopping for can dictate when you should shop for it. There are specific items/categories that are usually priced better on one of the two days. While not set in stone, typically the following deals are seen:

Black Friday

  • Appliances
  • Grills
  • Televisions
  • Computers/Peripherals
  • General Electronics

Cyber Monday

  • Apparel/Shoes
  • Beauty Products
  • Travel Deals/Airfare
  • Apple Products
  • Gaming Systems
  • Discounts are often retailer-wide, as opposed to a specific product
  • Deeper discounts on leftover inventory from Black Friday

Do Your Research

Utilize email subscriptions from retailers you intend to shop with. Discounts for Black Friday and Cyber Monday are often emailed to list subscribers.

Use online tools and browser extensions to monitor the price of items you’re interested in.

Sometimes the second-best deal ends up being the better deal. You won’t be up against as many consumers and have a better chance of your item being in stock.

Cheaper isn’t always better. Sometimes there are features that aren’t included in the lowest priced models. Whether it’s a washing machine without a fabric softener dispenser or a television that isn’t as “smart” as you thought it would be, do as much research as you can when you have a specific model or item in mind.

Prepare in Advance

  • Whether shopping online or in-store, have a list of items that you are interested in purchasing.
  • If you’re purchasing online, make sure that you create an account prior to shopping, to expedite the checkout process.
  • If you’re shopping in-store, map your route to the different retailers and go in with a plan!

While some would rather brave the crowds and early morning hours, others prefer the convenience of shopping from wherever they like. Either way, there will be many deals available, and with a little preparation, you can save a lot of money!

Guard Your Information

Whether shopping at retail outlets or online stores, be mindful and observant of your personal information. The holidays are a busy time of year for identity thieves and cybercriminals, so be vigilant and smart.

  • Make sure that any website on which you are providing ANY type of personal information is secure. Look for a padlock next to the URL in your browser’s address bar. If you don’t see that, don’t share any personal information and do NOT provide any type of financial or payment information.
  • Check your credit card and bank accounts early and often. Many banks will show transactions within moments of occurring. As your bank or financial institution if text message alerts are available to customers, to be notified when a purchase is made.
  • Protect your packages! Thieves have no problem stealing packages from the porches, stoops, and mailboxes, of others. If you already have a security system in your home, ensure that a camera is focused on any areas that packages or items of value may be left.
  • Track your package shipment process through text messages. Most package carriers and shipment facilities offer text alerts and updates to recipients at no cost. This makes it easy to see where your package is in the shipment process, and if it was delivered.

Remember the reason for the season when you’re out shopping, or browsing online. Enjoy your experience, find great deals, and have a wonderful holiday season!

From all of us to all of you, have a wonderful and joyous holiday season!!

The Team at IMS