Connect Third Party Online Banking Vendors to CU*BASE

Periodically, we receive a credit union request re: the possibility for them selecting a third party OLB vendor and integrating their services with CU*BASE. While there are a variety of reasons (i.e. cost, integration, on-going maintenance/ support requirements, Mobile Web, etc.) for why CU*BASE clients should carefully consider this strategy, it is still an available option for which we want to address. Additionally, every vendor and project scope/requirements are normally very unique, and will be reviewed on an individual project request basis. Here are some initial considerations.

Step 1

All third party OLB vendors are certainly not the same.  Clients will need to select a OLB vendor that is an established vendor with proven integrations to credit union core processing solutions. You will want to find a vendor that has experience in coordinating member features and functions (their standing solution) with two or more core processing vendors. Ensure they have an integration process and have experience in connecting their product set to another vendor’s processing environment.  CU*Answers is not interested in developing their integration specification – we want to respond to their plan, and follow their project lead. They should have a pre-defined set of features and functions that you are interested in presenting to your members. CU*Answers will review the third party vendors feature/function integration requirements and give you a report of our compatibility and our side of the integration project expense.


    • Note 1:  Most OLB vendors will have an extension in their OLB platforms to other third parties for things like Bill Pay, P2P, A2A, etc.  In most cases these extension are third parties as well.  All of their extensions may or may not be required to integrate to CU*BASE. For example, if you want special relationship pricing or marketing links to CU*BASE programs, there may be integration coordination needed. However, in other cases, the third party vendor may manage the entire process for things like paying bills that simply will post via ACH or check processing channels, and do not require any CU*BASE coordination. If you pick an established third party OLB vendor, they will most likely have experience and knowledge into which of their extension will need special consideration. If they don’t, please look for another vendor!


    • Note 2:  Assume nothing that is included in the CU*Answers integration between CU*BASE and It’sMe247 will roll into the third party solution. This is not about having the best of two worlds, it is about having another world – the third parties feature set.  Look closely at how the third party vendor would coordinate changes through CU*Answers (mandates, optional, ale carte adjustments) and the pricing.  Consider who will publish help, announcements, and other aids for your members when they are using the new channel.

Step 2

Have CU*Answers complete a third party vendor compatibility assessment.  Generally we will charge a smaller $1,500 (or similar) research project fee to ensure that CU*Answers has verified and reported on the vendors integration approach, inventory of project management capabilities, and existing resume in the credit union market space. Some systems do not work well with credit union data constructs such as the member account and sub-account structures, etc.  It is always best to identify large issues early and see if the two integration teams are on the same page for the big known issues.  This fee will be applied to the overall project cost if you move forward, but is not refundable if you decide to look for another solution.

Step 3

Depending upon results of this initial research process, have CU*Answers and/or your vendor complete a full integration feasibility and specification project plan.  Generally, if you have CU*Answers write the specification for the integration project, it will include the research and the bid to do the work.  A similar arrangement – CU*Answers will require a research bid, typically $15,000 (or similar) this time in order to develop a more detailed research specification and project plan. CU*Answers is also open to the third party writing the integration and being “second seat” for your project.  Your vendor will outline the professional services you will require from CU*Answers and include them in your project plan. CU*Answers would do its best to avoid fees if we do not need to participate directly in the integration work.

Step 4

Per project bid approval, calendar scheduling for getting started.

When Does It Get Complicated?

You want to use a new vendor.

You want to use a new vendor – someone that does not have experience with coordinating/integrating with other credit union core processors.  They want CU*BASE to be their first, and as of now, CU*Answers’ first. Understand that you will have to do much of the leg work yourself, and even then it will normally be expensive.  In most cases, a vendor in this space will count on generic APIs to craft a solution too.  The vendor and you will need to present a list of required APIs that the vendor will want CU*Answers to review (one at a time), and then develop a specification for either modifying our APIs, use their APIs, or have either side develop new APIs.  APIs generally are not universal or standard – they will require one side or the other to adjust the compatibility for your integration.  If the vendor is building this integration one API at a time – our advice, please seek another solution. Online banking environments are too feature rich and comprehensive these days, and when you add their extensions to third parties, you have a long project that will be expensive and very fluid over the life of the project.

Have deep pockets and lots of time if you are going to be the ALPHA client of a new solution integrating with CU*BASE. Certainly, not for the faint of heart.

You want to design new navigation for CU*BASE It’s Me 247 solutions.

You simply want to design new “navigation” for CU*BASE It’s Me 247 solutions.  You can do this directly with CU*Answers for a standard price of $35,000 project fee plus $3,500/month maintenance fee, and the published CU*BASE e-Commerce fee applicable to your credit union. You will be responsible for the specification and design work that will outline your desired new solution, and for documentation and help support for your one-off solution. In essence, this is a reorganization of the features and function currently supported by It’s Me 247 solutions and their third party vendor extension options. New features and new vendor extensions will be bid as special projects per your design request.

It is all about the “Eye-Of-The-Beholder” when it comes to DIY control – if you have the eye and the extra funds for the project, we are excited to give it a try.

You heard that you could design your own OLB solution using free CU*Answers APIs.

You heard that you could design your own online banking solution using free CU*Answers APIs for getting started immediately. Certainly  Certainly you can, but all of this is based upon you designing your solution per transactions for which our APIs can facilitate and support. Currently, CU*Answers is not very far along on the list of APIs that a robust OLB solution would expect.  It is our intention to publish a large set of ready API’s by the end of 2018 for your future project.  We will make these APIs available to you and a vendor of your choice on an ongoing basis  (see the DHD Store for additional information). To further aid you in this project, CU*Answers will also be converting our own native OLB solutions to utilize these APIs in 2019.  We hope to have a few firms, credit unions, and others designing solutions with these APIs as the foundation going forward.  Future coordination will be the trick here – remember on-going maintenance and support consideration. You will need a plan – you will pay for those processes going forward (you, third party, or CU*Answers) plus applicable e-commerce support fees.

If this is your dream – we are a ways away, but start laying out your solution2019 will be your year to go active.