PSCU has announced the launch of a pilot program that will put card art from six of its members in Google Wallet, the search giant’s digital payments technology.
In a statement on Thursday, the St. Petersburg, Fla., cards and payments CUSO elaborated: “When cardholders of the six participating PSCU credit unions add their cards to Google Wallet they will see an actual image of their credit union’s card. This brand reinforcement is key to helping credit unions own their share of the mobile channel.”
The six credit unions invited to join this test of Google Wallet are the $868 million Arkansas FCU in Jacksonville, Ark.; the $1.7 billion Baxter CU in Vernon Hills, Ill.; the $1.4 billion CFE FCU in Lake Mary, Fla.; the $1.5 billion GTE Financial in Tampa, Fla.; the $1.4 billion TruMark Financial CU in Trevose, Pa.; and the $711 million Vantage Credit Union in Bridgeton, Mo.
Google Wallet presently is accepted by a range of merchants including Bloomingdale’s, Jamba Juice and Duane Reade.
It allows payments via tap and go with select mobile phones equipped with NFC. It also is an online payment tool (similar to PayPal).
In explaining why PSCU pursued an alliance with Google, PSCU CEO Mike Kelly, in an interview, said, “The U.S. Post Office is a cautionary tale. And it offers a lesson to credit unions.
“We think the time has come for mobile payments and, frankly, the risk for credit unions is disintermediation” - that is, being put out of the action.
“Being able to deliver branded payments - as our credit unions will be able to do with Google Wallet – keeps credit unions in the game,” said Kelly.
Kelly declined to put a timeline on the pilot program but he did indicate that when the pilot successfully concludes, “Our plan is to offer this Google Wallet tie in to our other members. Once we have learned what we need to, we will offer it broadly.”