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TAMPA, Fla. – At just 18-months old, ePSCU, the e-commerce unit of Payment Systems for Credit Unions, was starting up right around the time dot-com companies were starting to go bust. Even dot-com companies solely focusing on the credit union space were going belly up. Portal companies like MembersResources.com and Total1.com, and Net publisher eMoney Digest to name just a few. The PSCU board authorized $20 million in capital over three years for the ePSCU unit. The board did this in spite of the apparent risk of e-com firms at the time which has continued to today. But the real advantage PSCU leaders felt ePSCU would have over other e-com firms was PSCU’s reputation and its 24×7 call center. “What PSCU has done for us is in our (PSCU’s) member base of 518 credit unions there’s instant credibility and trust. They’ve known PSCU for 25 years,” said Tom Miles, ePSCU’s President and CIO of PSCU. Miles said everything ePSCU has is backed by PSCU’s 24×7 call center, a key advantage in his mind. “Our goal is that behind all the products that we either resell or have built, we want to leverage the call center. You can’t just have products out there without the service aspect.” PSCU, because of its credit/debit card business, has a vast call center network with about 400 employees broken up between Jacksonville and Tampa facilities. Miles said it’s easy for credit unions to hang Web-based products all over their sites, but not having the live personal service to back them up will hurt adoption and satisfaction by the end user. Here’s a status report on where ePSCU stands right now. It has 35 credit unions utilizing its EasyToCUPayLink product, which is its bill pay and presentment product powered by CheckFree. In January it will be upgraded with CheckFree’s 3.2 platform which electronic notification of a bill, and the ability to do person-to-person payments, something some tech gurus think will be a demanded service in coming years. Essentially a user can ACH a payment to another person’s financial account. A product that is more focused to PSCU’s traditional credit card offerings is ePSCU’s EasyToCUInfoLink solution. It gives members access to their credit card information online. About 170 CUs are utilizing it. Next year it will introduce a “Click to Talk” feature. Once a member online clicks it, a PSCU call center rep will call that member looking at the same screen the member is. The rep can also push screens out to the member. Playing on the live service theme, ePSCU is also offering a relatively unique tech support solution in the credit union space. Known as EasyToCUtechLink, it is 24×7 Net technical support for credit union members. At press time, 10 credit unions were using the service. The Net support is not just for ePSCU or PSCU products, but any of a CU’s online offerings as well as basic Internet tech support. Members call the number from their CU’s Web page, and are patched in to a PSCU call center rep versed in Net tech support. “As credit unions find their home banking usage going up, and when they get to a certain plateau of home banking users, the more opportunities there are for tech support issues,” said Miles. Overall Miles said he’s pleased where ePSCU is so far, and he was happy to report that while ePSCU may not be turning a profit yet, it will break even this year, thus preserving what’s left of that initial $20 million in capital investment. [email protected]

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