Exploring the Buy Now Pay Later Boom

 

We often talk about the differences between older and younger generations, and we can add another trend to the list of factors that divide them: the surge in buy now, pay later program participation among younger Millennials, and Gen Z.

Let’s explore the BNPL boom and its role in the future of banking.

Why is BNPL Gaining Popularity?

As online shopping continues to grow in popularity, more and more we are seeing checkout prices being listed as “$349.99 now, or $29.17 per month for 12 months” or “4 payments of” a much more manageable amount. And younger shoppers are loving it. Buy now pay later is gaining popularity.

The younger members of the Millennial and Gen Z populations are not fans of credit cards, and their buying habits back this up. For example, in 2021, 12% of the 18- to 34-year-olds surveyed said they used BNPL for holiday purchases, compared to 0% of the 65 and older demographic, says CNBC. Overall use of the buy now pay later method was up nearly 30% year over year.

But why is BNPL so attractive to younger shoppers? Because it costs less than using a credit card, they say.

The attractiveness of BNPL comes from the idea that shoppers can create a bit more flexibility in their medium-sized purchases. Purchases that fall in the $100-700 range can be split into a handful of smaller payments that are spread out over the next few months, or even over a year. It eases the burden these occasional purchases bring, without incurring the high interest fees one would be stuck with if they used a traditional credit card.

It can be useful for more than just low-income shoppers, though. BNPL often is being used by those who are financially stable, but who want the predictability of the plan without having to incur costly fees or go through a long or drawn-out loan application process.

And, says CU 2.0, younger generations crave financial stability in a world that has been exceedingly unstable for them, they want solutions that leave no surprises. While a loan amount or balance is always available, banking members don’t know what the actual cost of their purchase will be until they pay off the full amount – and this depends on the frequency of payments (and whether the member pays in variable amounts), initial loan amounts, interest rates, the member’s credit score, and more. And if a member puts that purchase on a credit card but doesn’t pay off the full amount during the next billing cycle, the end expense is, once again, a variable and often a much higher price tag at the end. But with BNPL, the total cost is given upfront, and the timing or amount of the payments made will not change that.

How CUs Can Use BNPL Plans to Their Advantage

Credit unions looking to capture and engage more younger members can implement programs and offerings that follow this ultra-convenient and straightforward buy now pay later idea by using account data history for current members, and by advertising these services in a friendly, quick, digital offering.

More and more businesses have these BNPL plans built into their websites either on product pages on somewhere in the shopping cart or checkout process.

Focusing on smaller, more upfront methods of creating recurring payment plans for your members can help differentiate you as a credit union that is both up-to-date on the current trends and also committed to helping and educating members so they can become more financially sound.

Digital Solutions for Rapidly Evolving Banking Trends

IMS Integration wants your credit union at the forefront of digital transformation. From online account opening to web loan applications and Skip a Pay, our solutions are tailor-made for credit unions, because we know that your CU has unique needs and goals for the new year.

Check out our website for more information, or contact us today if you have questions.


Web Development for Credit Unions

 

In an increasingly digital world, your credit union’s website is the new interactive business card, a source of income, and the main way by which prospective members will judge whether you are the right fit for their financial needs. So let’s talk about web development for credit unions: what to do, what not to do, and more.

Take Advantage of Tracking and Analytics

Your data is only as good as your analysis of it. Data is business gold. It can tell you things about the best times to run certain promotions, the behaviors of different member demographics, and so much more.

When it comes to leveraging your data, you should first break down your credit union goals, and then start collecting data to help give you insight on how to achieve those goals.

End-to-end tracking is also a must. For credit unions, lead tracking and ROI tracking can provide a multi-directional approach to meeting your business goals. Your members and their behaviors can tell you everything you need to know about what products and services you should be offering, and the best methods for doing so.

Prominently Feature Self-Service Options

Typically, people surfing your website are there because of a search or other desire for a product or service brought them here. By prominently featuring self-service options, you give your visitors what they want in a quick and efficient manner.

Online web loan applications, courtesy pay, and other self-service forms are a great way to differentiate your credit union. Many credit unions fail to prominently display self-service opportunities on their websites, and this causes a lot of frustration among visitors. If you are one of the few that takes advantage of this web development for credit unions, it can not only drive more business, but it can also set you apart from other credit unions that are not taking advantage of this web design.

Marketing Trends for 2022

The Financial Brand recently published an article on “How Banks and Credit Unions Are Rethinking Marketing for 2022.” This includes changing up your media mix, reevaluating your marketing budget, and focusing on financial inclusion.

Some of these new trends will affect the web development of your credit union. Members are now more comfortable using multiple banking institutions to help make the most of what they are being offered. The focus now is to be more flexible and innovative, to capture the top spot in your member’s minds. You want them to think of your credit union first. If you aren’t their only financial institution, you should strive to be their favorite.

Don’t Forget about Accessibility

The digital world is one in which many disabilities can become smaller obstacles with the right programming. When you are thinking about web development for your credit union, a great addition to your strategy should be accessibility. Accessibility can be housed within the toggles of your site and can be comprised of things like a “dark mode” setting or designing your online forms to be more accessible. UC Berkeley has a great resource on the top tips for making your website accessible.

Custom Web Development for Your CU

IMS Integration has a wealth of well-honed industry expertise, and we want to use it to create a custom web development plan for your credit union’s needs. We offer everything from online member applications to data extracts and manipulation, third-party integration, and more. Request a consultation today for more information about our credit union solutions.


4 Takeaways from ‘Digital-First Banking Trends Report’

 

SilverCloud recently published the “Digital-First Banking Trends Report” (you can download the free report here). There is a ton of insightful information in the report, so we wanted to go through a few of the best takeaways, which include mobile banking, technology adoption, and more.

Customer Self-Service

SilverCloud reports that the average daily use of knowledge bases on bank and credit union websites increased by 69% year over year from March 2020 to March 2021. Current and future credit union members will now expect to be able to find banking solutions, applications, and answers to their questions through your website or mobile offerings.

A list of some of the most common topics in self-service offerings include transfers, cards, lending, hours, and appointments. IMS Integration has a number of solutions like web loan applications and online account opening that can help bolster your credit union’s self-service programs.

Mobile Banking

A lot of the self-service growth was taking place on mobile apps and platforms in the last year as well. And mobile users were doing a lot more than just checking account balances, they were looking for help with products, technology, and even just general support.

The more streamlined your credit union’s website and mobile interfaces are, the easier it is to attract and retain members. The increase in work-from-home opportunities and other remote events and meetings means that it’s becoming less convenient to have to swing by the bank or credit union to drop off a pay stub or withdraw cash. There’s even a continued rise in smart wallet use – forget paying with cash or card, many people enjoy the simplicity of paying by phone.

Chatbots

With 24-7 tech comes the need for 24/7 support. Thankfully, you don’t need to start hiring night shift chat or hotline managers to keep up with your members’ needs.

“Chatbot usage on bank and credit union websites and mobile apps increased 272% year-over-year, says SilverCloud. Their study even showed that those who used chatbots over more rudimentary search bar inquiries typed an average of 14 words and found helpful answers to mid-tier and slightly more complicated questions. Your members are no longer seeing chatbots as glorified search bars – they’re using this evolved technology to find answers to questions that normally would require a person-to-person phone call. This evolution helps increase the effectiveness of your credit union’s self-service offerings while lowering your call volumes.

IMS Integration also has a number of automation options like batch and UI scripting that can be customized to your credit union while still providing efficient solutions for your teams.

Appointment Scheduling

While walk-ins are still welcome, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has created a high demand for more pre-scheduled appointments, up 107% from 2020, while walk-in numbers have decreased by 55%.

The following appointment types saw growth since last year: business banking, retail banking, investments, and auto loans. Only appointments for checking and savings declined – no doubt affected by the huge leaps in technology and self-service availability we mentioned above.

Keep Up with Tech Trends in Banking

IMS Integration has a large selection of online and backend solutions to help keep your credit union up to speed on the latest and greatest advancements in the banking industry. Our Corelation solutions and new Infuzion tool are making customized tech solutions look easy.

Request a consultation today for more information about our credit union solutions.