The value of membership

posted by Paul Waltz on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 in SHAZAM Blog

Let’s start with the bottom line: As a nonprofit, member-owned and controlled financial services provider, SHAZAM focuses on the needs of our member financial institutions, not shareholder profits.

Our nonprofit structure means we develop products and services for the long-term success of our members versus short-term financial gains. As one of the nation’s only member-owned and controlled payments networks, we are unique.

Membership has its advantages

Since 1976, SHAZAM has served community financial institutions with products and services to help them compete. Because we’re member owned and controlled, our board of directors are people who use our products. Imagine if you were able to sit on the board of directors of one of your favorite retailers, directing every aspect of how prices are set and what merchandise and services are offered. That’s how it works at SHAZAM. We’re focused entirely on serving the needs of our members.

This focus has allowed us to concentrate our resources on innovation — from developing the single-message system that continues to be the standard for networks today to implementing the first integrated point-of-sale pilot program. Our mission is: Strengthening community financial institutions and every member of our team is committed to finding ways to exceed member expectations.

Every member financial institution has an equal voice in the work we do and each member — large or small — has an equal vote within SHAZAM. The member-selected board of directors determines our direction, our focus and how we’ll support our members. This type of structure is indeed our biggest competitive advantage. We’re not conflicted by the demands of shareholders to create a profit; we concentrate on our members and their needs.

Supporting community financial institutions through advocacy

SHAZAM is also your advocate. We represent the interests of community financial institutions with many regional and national associations, including the U.S. Faster Payments Council, Debit Network Alliance, Secure Payments Partnership and more.

We’re fighting for standards in payments that drive innovation and competition in the ecosystem. Our goal is a non-discriminatory and interoperable payments system, giving community financial institutions choice and flexibility in selecting the best services for their operations. SHAZAM envisions a system that allows payments to act much like text messaging does now. People send and receive text messages seamlessly, regardless of the carriers or phones used. In the absence of similar standards in payments, community institutions will lose choice and innovation will be hampered. We speak for our members when we advocate for a payments system that operates for the benefit of all financial institutions, regardless of size or scope.

SHAZAM. We’re a nonprofit, member-owned and controlled financial services provider, supporting community financial institutions and seeking fairness and equity in the marketplace for you.


  1. member owned
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