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Camera capture is a point of interest for millennials

Two women smile while looking at a mobile device.

In 2013, millennials were declared more diverse and impactful than any of their generational counterparts by the White House Council of Economic Advisors. Now recognized as the biggest generation in American history, it would behoove credit unions to follow their lead.

It's no secret that millennials love their smart phones, but a new study found their most recent interest lies with their camera. Mobile capture was projected to be a major part of all payment transactions in the next five years by more than 80 percent of a polled group, in a report released by Mitek and Zogby Analytics. 

The good news is that credit unions may be able to implement this before larger financial institutions.

The desire for cutting-edge technology
The 2014 Mitek Millennials report found smartphones to be potential "commerce disrupters." The 2015 report found not only mobile preferences accelerating, but also a desire for digitization of all commerce. This becomes increasingly important when considering 42 percent of respondents said they have made a decision on where to spend their money, or switched companies, based on what the business allowed its users to accomplish with a mobile account.

With banking being the top industry where millennials wished to better utilize their mobile capture function, one California-based credit union is taking advantage of what's in high demand. First Tech Federal Credit Union announced a partnership with MasterCard in August that would allow employees to complete mobile transactions using facial recognition and fingerprint biometrics.

The pilot program allowed 200 participants to make virtual donations with artificial funds to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals testing the security and convenience of facial recognition.

"At First Tech, we're establishing a strong track record for bringing the most secure and forward-looking payments security to our members, first with our introduction this year of chip-and-PIN debit and credit cards," CEO of First Tech Federal Credit Union, Greg Mitchell, said in a press release. "In that spirit, this biometrics pilot program represents an exciting next step in payment convenience and security. Our members are some of the most technologically focused consumers on the planet, and being an innovator in the payments security space is evidence of our strong desire to meet our members' unique needs."

A young woman is pictured taking a photo of herself; a selfie. Credit unions should look to offer products that both meet member demand and make them more marketable.

Integrating products
Though your branch may not be quite ready for "Selfie Pay," employing these types of cutting-edge technologies into your programs will be important as technology continues to advance. When asked what members of Generation Y would like to do with their money on a mobile device in the future, 39 percent said they would like to verify their identity with a digital ID during in-person transactions; 19 percent said exchange money by photographing their debit cards; and 21 percent said they'd like to be able to take pictures of documents for budgeting and to better allocate where funds should be distributed. 

Mitek noted three in five feel comfortable with transferring funds across mobile devices, but 67 percent worried about the money getting to the person it was intended for. This could be an opportunity for credit unions to tie in related product offerings like fraud prevention or EMV chip cards.

Credit unions should explore this and other realms of new technology to remain contenders in the competition for the hearts of millennials and the tech savvy.