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There's an App for That: The Tech That's Making Credit Unions as Convenient as the Big Banks

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The credit union model thrives in a financial industry led by publicly traded banking conglomerates. As not-for-profit entities, credit unions return their earnings to members through lower loan rates, higher deposit rates, and lower or no account fees. Credit unions also exceed the level of customer service at large banks by offering a community-oriented approach and member-friendly features.

Accordingly, the economic outlook for credit unions is positive, particularly for those adapting to the latest trends. In particular, Florida credit union online banking technology is providing the ease of access required by today's consumers.

Economic Outlook for Credit Unions

In the U.S., credit union membership stayed roughly unchanged in 2023. However, Arizona, Idaho, Alaska, Florida, and other states did show growth in member numbers. That's a positive sign, but keeping members satisfied once they join means delivering on their wants and needs.

Experts suggest that credit unions expand their lending as well as their member and community engagement efforts to maintain membership numbers in an uncertain economic climate. While credit unions need to control their costs, they must also invest in the latest technology and digital banking options to compete and stay relevant. It's a delicate balancing act. 

Florida Credit Union Online Banking: The Importance of Online Tools

The credit union marketing model was traditionally rooted in face-to-face contact in a branch. Focusing on online banking is a significant shift in the people-friendly credit union service model, but well-designed online banking tools are essential to better meet member demands.

According to a 2022 survey, nearly 80% of U.S. adults prefer banking online to in-person banking. Data from 2021 showed that about 43% of people used mobile banking as the primary way to access their accounts. By contrast, only 15% of people used mobile banking as their primary method just a few years earlier in 2017. One way engagement grew substantially in recent years was in the use of mobile deposit and payment tools.

Large banks can more readily devote funds to improving their technology to provide online services, but the numbers imply that they haven’t always invested wisely. For example, many banks have developed technology to enable customers to open a new account via the web or smartphone. Despite this, the number of accounts opened online dropped in the last two years. Credit unions and smaller banks can compete by focusing their digital efforts on tech that members value and will use regularly versus investing in tools for one-time use.

For many credit unions, purchasing access to core banking technology makes more sense than developing their own and allows them to focus on tools their community and members would value. Florida credit union online banking at institutions such as Power Financial Credit Union offers the same features found at larger banks. These include the ability to establish digital wallets, deposit checks, pay bills, transfer funds, stop payments, apply for loans, access statements, and more. Power Financial Credit Union’s tools enable peer-to-peer payments, alerts, and other mobile features members depend on.

How Credit Unions Can Improve Online Offerings

Credit unions can continue to compete online by adding features that help members plan, meet financial goals, and protect their accounts, including features for member peace of mind. Two-factor or biometric (face or fingerprint) authentication, data encryption, better calculation and planning tools, collaboration with third-party services such as Zelle®, adding voice banking, and integrating AI capabilities to improve service and fraud protection will help credit unions stay competitive.

Credit unions do not have to build their online tools from scratch. They can partner with fintech companies to help them expand their online options and scale them as their membership grows and new tools emerge.

Digital banking tools must be refreshed periodically to align with the latest tools users demand, enable better integration with third-party applications, and provide better user experiences. Credit unions must be strategic about their digital tool development efforts to stay competitive and attract younger members. It’s important to stay attuned to trends to meet consumer expectations.

PFCU Online Tools

Credit unions have long been a member-friendly alternative to big banks. Their focus on the local area, their members, and low fees have helped credit unions and their communities thrive.

Online banking does reduce the face-to-face teller and loan officer interactions, but the digital tools many credit unions offer create a seamless and convenient way for members to get their banking done while building on the trust credit unions are known for. Technology helps ensure credit unions remain relevant and convenient for members. Interest rates may attract business, but offering the latest tools helps keep members happy.

If you are looking for member-centric South Florida credit union online banking and a full range of banking products and services, check out Power Financial Credit Union. Contact us today via our website or visit one of our South Florida branches to experience our commitment to service firsthand.