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By My Credit Union
The Internet has enabled a brave new world of services for
credit union members. Conducting basic banking transactions
online - loan applications, balance transfers, checking on
deposits and payments - is just the beginning. To remain competitive
against other financial institutions with vast resources,
credit unions around the country are building member value
by offering such diverse services as online equities trading,
account aggregation, bill payment, and personal expense management.
Personal expense management is one of the newest of these
emerging online credit union services. The goal of personal
expense management services is to save members money on their
monthly bills. Most people pay more than they need to for
many of their basic household services. For example, statistics
show that as many as 80% of wireless telephone users are on
the wrong plan, paying more than they should for the service
they use. But, finding the right information, analyzing it
and making an ''apples to apples'' comparison to other
plans can be extremely time consuming, so most won't make
the effort to research and compare plans on their own.
Personal expense management services can be a real boon to
credit union members. By analyzing a member's current bills,
the service can then search a database of offers from various
vendors, then match the member's usage to the plan that will
save them the most money for comparable service. The best
of the personal expense management services give the member
the power to actually switch to the new plan online and offer
cross-sell capabilities to the credit union. These services
become particularly interesting when a member data profile
is created and can be leveraged for targeted marketing efforts.
One personal expense management service that has tailored
its product to be especially friendly for credit unions is
from a company called XpenseWise. XpenseWise is currently
beta testing their product with Patelco, a large California
credit union, and is offering a product called XpenseWise
CU Direct that requires no integration effort beyond a simple
linking arrangement. XpenseWise customizes the service interface
to match the look and feel of the credit union website and
allows members to start finding savings immediately on services
like long distance, credit cards, insurance, auto loans, wireless,
For financial products and services, XpenseWise will only
recommend better value plans as approved by the host credit
union. In other words, members will never see recommendations
for competing products from other financial institutions,
assuming that's what the host CU wants. XpenseWise ensures
that whenever your credit union offers a better value plan,
the member will see a comparison to their existing plan and
have an opportunity to make an informed decision. This becomes
an excellent way to add instant and tangible member value,
while increasing ''wallet share'' for the credit union.
Additionally, credit unions can opt to include or exclude
any category of service they wish and thus truly tailor the
offering for their members.
What is XpenseWise?
XpenseWise is a personal expense management service that
analyzes a member's bills and searches and compares to see
if a member should be on a better plan that can save him or
her money. XpenseWise makes it easy to find the right plan,
and does allow the member to switch right online. XpenseWise
will cancel the old service and activate the new service for
the member. One member in beta testing saved over $2,000 a
year on long distance charges through XpenseWise! In addition
to member savings, XpenseWise offers credit unions a significant
opportunity to generate revenue through this program.
How Does It Work?
XpenseWise has several versions. The easiest to get up and
running is their CU Direct product. This is a true ''turnkey''
solution. The host credit union merely posts a link on its
website and XpenseWise does the rest, including site customization,
as well as member profile generation and maintenance. Members
can click on the link and begin using the XpenseWise service
by manually entering their bill information. Then, the powerful,
sophisticated XpenseWise analysis engine looks at all the
elements of their bill and determines if they are on the best
plan for their needs.
Throughout the process of saving money for members, XpenseWise
continually collects input data from the members and stores
it to build extensive member profiles. Over time, these profiles
help the credit union gain a deeper understanding of member
financial needs and purchasing behavior. Members never need
to worry about privacy or security. XpenseWise doesn't sell
or share member data, and is a member of the Trust-e network,
ensuring the safety of members' information.
Besides the ''turnkey'' CU Direct product, XpenseWise
offers even greater ease and convenience for members with
its XpenseWise Direct and Automatic products.
XpenseWise Direct employs a single sign-on technology that
allows a member to use the service without setting up a separate
user name and password. All the member has to do is log in
with their credit union user name and password to gain full
access to XpenseWise benefits.
XpenseWise Automatic is the ''Cadillac'' of the XpenseWise
platform. When you offer either electronic bill presentment
and payment (EBPP) or account aggregation (through a provider
such as Yodlee or eBalance), a member can have their bills
analyzed on an automatic basis, without having to manually
input any of their bill information. Any time XpenseWise finds
a ''Wiser Choice'' plan for any of the member's bills,
the recommendation is presented via email and the member can
choose to switch online.
How Does It Benefit Members?
Members save money on their monthly bills, on everything
from phone service to car insurance, to credit cards and mortgages.
No more endless searching, comparing complex plans, or listening
to annoying telemarketing calls! XpenseWise does the legwork
and comparisons for the member. And best of all, XpenseWise
is free to members.
How Does XpenseWise Benefit the Credit Union?
Obviously, the credit union benefits by making members happy,
and providing a free service that saves them money. XpenseWise
also adds to the credit union's bottom line because it allows
the credit union to present its most profitable product offers
to their members. For example, if a member wants to analyze
and compare their current auto loan, XpenseWise will compare
the terms to loan products offered by the credit union. If
the credit union offers a more competitive auto loan, XpenseWise
will recommend that product to the member. This is a great
way to educate members that they can save by moving a greater
share of their transactions to the credit union. And, on third
party products like long distance or wireless, XpenseWise
shares revenue with the host credit union whenever a member
switches to a new service.
Services such as XpenseWise have also been shown to attract
members to online activity, cutting administration costs vs.
either ATM or in-branch transactions. Any service that gives
members another reason to visit your website and stay online
delivers value to the credit union.
Check out personal expense management as a great extra benefit
and loyalty-building service for members. For information
about XpenseWise, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 425-739-8830 x15.
This sponsored content article is provided to the credit union community for shared insights and knowledge from a recognized solutions provider in the industry. Please note that the views and opinions offered here do not reflect those of Callahan & Associates, and Callahan does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer.
If you are interested in contributing an article on CreditUnions.com, please contact our Callahan Media team at email@example.com or 1-800-446-7453.
January 8, 2001
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