Keys, wallet, smartphone. For many of us, our smartphone has become one of the staple items that we never leave home without. The versatile convenience that it provides has turned it into an essential item in our daily lives. Among the myriad of functions it supplies, mobile banking is one service that continues to grow in use. Maine is one of the leading states for credit unions that provide mobile banking to members, with over 90% of Maine credit unions offer mobile banking.

“I’m in my car more than anywhere else – I’m on the go. My phone is my credit union. If I need to transfer money or transfer a check, it’s easy,” said a college student recently. This quote resonates with so many members who use mobile as one of the top ways to check in on their finances. They can view their balance, transfer funds, review their payment history, or pay a bill – all from their mobile devices!

One of the latest mobile banking features generating buzz is Mobile Deposit Capture, which enables members to deposit checks by taking a picture of the check with their smartphone, then uploading it via their mobile banking app.

The Mobile Wallet Experience
Mobile wallets also continue to grow in popularity. “The Pays” – Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay – all are mobile apps that allow users to pay for purchases without their physical card present using their smartphones! Members upload their debit or credit card to the app they have selected, then can make purchases in the store simply by holding the linked device near the contactless reader! This method of payment is secure, using a process called tokenization that replaces the physical card account number with a randomized number, reducing the risk of digital fraud.

In fact, mobile payments are predicted to more than double in value to $62.5 billion this year. If you haven’t tried Apple Pay, Android Pay, or Samsung Pay to make payments from your checking, savings, or credit card account, consider these four reasons to give it a whirl this fall:

  1. It’s faster than a chip card. It takes as long as 15 seconds for a terminal to read a chip card, a small eternity when you’re rarin’ to move on. Smartphone payments take only a second or so. Just hold your phone over the terminal and confirm your identity with a PIN or a fingerprint.
  2. It’s safer than swiping. Cards that use magnetic strips can be stolen, cloned, and used to loot your account. But each mobile payment is based on a random one-time code called a token that’s useless if copied. And a lost or stolen phone can’t be used for fraud, since only you have the right PIN or fingerprint to confirm the transaction. (This also keeps you from accidentally triggering a payment.)
  3. It’s available at most major retailers. Samsung Pay works nearly everywhere that accepts credit cards. Apple Pay and Android Pay use a less broad-based technology that’s available at 35% of U.S. retailers including Macy’s, Target, McDonald’s, and Walgreens.
  4. It can save you money. New customers may qualify for rewards and deals from their “mobile wallet” provider—Apple, Samsung, or Google.

After you activate the right app for your phone, scan the debit or credit card linked to the account you want to pay with. After that one-time setup, payments will show up on your account statement. As long as you keep your phone charged, your mobile payments will always be right on the money.

Maine’s credit unions continue to introduce new products to enhance the lives of their members, without compromising the most important connection of all: the relationship between the credit union and each individual member. A link to all Maine credit unions and their services can be found at www.mainecreditunions.org. Remember, if you belong to a credit union, you’re not only a member, you’re an owner. Helping members make good financial decisions, returning profits back to members through lower loan rates and higher rates of return, and being part of a cooperative with a community presence are just a handful of the benefits of credit union membership.