KENTWOOD, Mich. – WESCO CEO Randy Karnes believes that technology shouldn't be a risky business for credit unions. The tech CUSO's per-minute pricing plan for home banking is designed to let any size CU jump into Net banking with little monetary risk. Per-minute pricing is unique in the home banking realm. Most vendors price the service based on number of users, while on the bill pay side the number of transactions often comes into play. Because of a 24% increase in usage in its CU*@HOME Net banking solution, WESCO's credit union clients will find as much as a 30%-50% per minute pricing drop in this month's bill, with the lowest per-hour cost now at $1.50, and the highest at $2.50. That works out to 2.5 cents to 3.5 cents per minute respectively. "The biggest thing is that no credit union will have any risk getting into home banking. In their first month, if a credit union's members use just 100 minutes, it will cost the credit union $3.50," said Karnes. Karnes said lunch-time surfers on work time account for the most traffic on credit union home banking systems, with the busiest hours being between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. CU*@HOME has the basic account viewing features of home banking; the ability to make transfers; check interest rates; view canceled check images; purchase CDs and pay bills. WESCO isn't going to be making money hand over fist with this pricing scenario, but it doesn't need to said Karnes. "As a CUSO, our motivation is different. We're looking for a budget to build technology," said Karnes. WESCO is best-known as a data processor. Its flagship product is Q-Base. Q-Base is tightly integrated with CU*@HOME, something Karnes believes all CUs are going to demand down the line. Whereas in past years CUs have been content to contract with third-party Net banking firms such as Digital Insight, Karnes believes that separation from the DP system is going to be a thing of the past someday. "I just don't believe the actual day-to-day interaction between three parties is going to get it done. When vendor `A' changes something, the other two have to change. What you're seeing now is the revenge of the incumbent. People are actually looking at the Internet and wanting to marry it to proven processing," said Karnes. In other words, tight-integration between Net banking and core processing, which Karnes believes is best done by the CU's core processor providing its own Net banking solution. More and more processors have introduced Net banking products in recent years. The advantage of tight-integration is the systems can move in unison, and members are getting the same information no matter where they are conducting business, whether it be on the Web, in a branch, on the phone. As an example, Karnes said once a rate is changed in its clients Q-Base system, it's automatically updated in CU*@HOME with no extra input by the CU. WESCO is owned by approximately 50 credit unions. It currently has 84 core processing clients, with 65 of them using its home banking solution. [email protected]

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