Strategic Link Partner, Member Access Processing, Shares Insights on Artificial Intelligence and its Impact on Credit Union Members

2/19/2019

MAP logoIt’s official: the use of artificial intelligence in the credit union industry is on the rise. In fact, a recent survey shows artificial intelligence, or AI, is being used to improve everything from customer service to employee training. With every purchase, transfer, and deposit, credit unions are gathering intelligence about member spending habits, tendencies and frequency of use. However, there is a constant, nagging concern on the part of many members wondering if the data collected will be used for good or not.

Strategic Link partner, Member Access Processing, offers insights on this technological innovation from its CEO, Cyndie Martini, who has more than 30 years’ experience directing credit union card and ATM portfolios.

According to Martini, we must accept that the credit union industry is currently going through a time of tumultuous change. Gone are the days of having to sign for credit card purchases. Now, all it takes is a simple tap to make a payment. Mobile banking has given consumers the ability to check a balance, transfer money or make payments with a simple touch. Coming soon is facial recognition for access and purchases. There is no doubt that convenience is important. But has it been achieved at a loss of personal information or security?

Martini also points out a lot of good is found with AI. Thanks to AI, cards are able to individualize responses to purchases, cater rewards, and even prevent fraud. The data being gathered through artificial intelligence is able to give members several options and in turn, multiple solutions.

The more data that is collected about members, the better the return and personalized offerings will be. As is increasingly common in all aspects of modern life, technological innovation means consumers have to be willing to give up a piece of their privacy in the name of access.

The first and best way to retain control of advancing technology, according to Martini, is to fully understand what it is doing and why. Artificial intelligence is geared to collect as much data as possible. For example, AI technology, in your phone or with home computer interfaces, is always listening. When you purchase online, algorithms log your purchases in order to offer you similar items the next time you shop.

The draconian solution is to simply turn off all collection gathering technology by adjusting settings on your hardware, devices, or on the card itself. Separate your credit and debit cards from your savings accounts, use only low-balance cards, stay off social media, and limit online shopping by using gift cards or other, more anonymous payment methods. Martini believes if you choose this road, you will lose out on more rewards and you might not be much safer because credit cards and debit cards are already very secure and liability for fraud doesn’t reside with the consumer.

From Martini’s perspective, the decision of engaging with AI often comes down to a generational choice. Millennials and their successors are willing to lead a more transparent life. They have greater trust in what institutions are doing with their data. Baby boomers tend to value more security. Luckily, even boomers won’t be able to stay on the sidelines for long. Credit unions and their credit and debit card partners are constantly innovating ways to give money back to consumers with each purchase, tailor rewards and offer discounts.

History has shown that technological innovation is constant and ubiquitous. At the same time, we fear what we don’t understand. Keeping up with changes, and profiting from them, Martini believes, is a matter of acquiring more information. For all our advancements, the best ways to learn are still the same. Read available information, including the fine print, and sit down with your credit union to talk about all the options. The world hasn’t changed that much. Knowledge is still power.

For more information about Member Access Processing, contact Northwest Credit Union Association VP of Strategic Resources, Jason Smith. To learn more about Strategic Link’s partnership with Member Access Processing, visit its webpage.