The fear of identity theft and other
forms of consumer fraud is very real for
today’s credit union members, fueled in part
by the onslaught of news reports on the
subject. Members understandably look to
their credit unions for assurance that their “Monitoring your credit has been shown to be a very effective
personal financial data will be protected in
these uncertain times. To help credit unions
respond, USERS is offering its clients the way to head-off identity theft and consumer fraud,”
opportunity to provide members with a
value-added service that can help them Tankeloff says. Armed with the information provided by AlertMe,
defend against identity theft.
USERS has launched the AlertMe con- members will be in position to take immediate action to combat
sumer credit monitoring service, a Fiserv
solution designed to help members avoid or potential misuse of their personal financial data.
reduce the risk of consumer fraud. USERS’
Senior VP Larry Tankeloff says the current
climate makes this service a particularly
timely offering for credit unions.
“We tested the concept with our clients schedule,” he says. “By working bureau file daily for activity, such as
and found tremendous interest in this kind with Fiserv, we’ve been able to new account openings or reported
of service,” he says. “Our credit union clients move quickly in offering a high- delinquencies, and providing an
are eager for a solution that can help to assure value service that can benefit our e-mail notification when an activity
and protect their members, while also gener- clients and their members.” occurs.
ating fee income for the credit union.” In Larry Tankeloff, “Monitoring your credit has
preparation for the launch, USERS initially TRACKING TROUBLE Senior VP, USERS been shown to be a very effective
offered the service to its staff and has seen AlertMe is designed to way to head-off identity theft and
similarly strong interest. defend against identity theft by consumer fraud,” Tankeloff says.
Tankeloff says the launch of AlertMe is a empowering members to monitor and main- Armed with the information provided by
prime example of the beneficial synergies that tain their creditworthiness. The service tracks AlertMe, members will be in position to take
result from the collaboration between USERS credit bureau activity and provides timely immediate action to combat potential misuse
and Fiserv. updates to members who subscribe, enabling of their personal financial data.
them to take early action to limit the errors The delivery model for AlertMe makes it
“USERS continues to collaborate with
and losses that can result from inaccurate both a low-cost proposition for members and
Fiserv and our sister companies in the Fiserv
entries or unauthorized activity. The service a revenue generating opportunity for the
family, in order to bring new technology
works by monitoring the member’s credit credit union. Members pay a low monthly
products and services to market on a rapid
subscription fee for the credit monitoring “With competitive pres-
service, with the credit union receiving a
portion of the fee as a royalty. Because
sures increasing all the time,
credit unions continue to
A Growing Threat
AlertMe is delivered via a cost-effective ASP seek ways to strengthen Last January, the Better Business Bureau released
model, credit unions can add it quickly, easily, their relationships with the results of a study conducted as an update to the
and without upfront capital expenses. members, while creating U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s earlier Identity Theft
new revenue streams that Survey Report. The Bureau’s study concluded that
“The ASP model means the credit union during the previous 12 months, 9.3 million Americans
help to offset shrinking net
can outsource all of the IT and administration were victims of identity theft. The total annual cost of
interest margins,” he says.
usually associated with this kind of service, identity theft in the U.S. was estimated at $52.6 billion
“AlertMe will help credit
including member service and billing,” and growing.
unions to achieve both
Tankeloff says. The service bureau model also
goals: creating a recurring The study confirmed that while perpetrators do
allows credit unions to move quickly with this
revenue stream by offering use electronic channels to steal consumer identities,
service, adding it on a fast track in response
a service with tremendous most still rely on traditional means (such as trash
to member interest.
value to members.” dumpsters), with only about 11.6% of thefts
To help credit unions increase penetration occurring online.
Contact your Account
of this valuable service among members,
Manager for details on the The most common methods for stealing identities
specific marketing materials, geared to your
AlertMe service and the include the use of lost or stolen wallets, family or
members, are being developed. More details
availability of marketing friends obtaining access to financial data, and the
will be available in the near future.
materials. theft of paper mail (taken from home mailboxes
Tankeloff believes AlertMe will generate and dumpsters).
strong interest among credit unions, because
of its ability to provide tangible benefits to
both the institution and its members.