Help Members Cut Their Monthly Bills Down to Size...

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.

 

By My Credit Union

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...and build member value with limited resources

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, etc.

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 carinm@xpensewise.com 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 ads@creditunions.com or 1-800-446-7453.

 

Jan. 8, 2001


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