Don't Let Apple Pay Disrupt Your Mobile Payment Strategy

As the iPhone® 6 makes its way into the hands of consumers, the way we pay may be changed forever. The phone, with its embedded Apple PayTM capabilities, has the potential to be the tipping point for widespread adoption of mobile point-of-sale payments. While this is significant in and of itself, it's important to step back and consider the bigger picture implications for your financial institution's mobile payments strategy.

The key is to strike a balance between underplaying new developments and being driven by the news of the week. A good strategy should be flexible enough to adapt when new services such as Apple Pay come along, with a focus on how new developments fit into your existing plans.


Fiserv recently published a paper sharing steps financial institutions can take to prepare for mobile payments at the point of sale. These steps are summarized below, along with new perspectives on Apple Pay:

Work to be top of wallet. Once a card is in a mobile payment app or service, it tends to stay there. To keep your financial institution's cards at the top of the mobile wallet, ensure that your cards meet the requirements to be used through these services and make it as easy as possible for consumers to add their cards into them.

In the case of Apple Pay, a card has to have tokenization capabilities to be used through the service. Tokenization enhances the security of online and mobile transactions by replacing sensitive payment account information, such as 16-digit card numbers, with digital account numbers called tokens. For additional information, read "Answers to Your Questions about Tokenization" on The Point.

Ensuring that your cards are consumers' cards of choice for mobile wallets and apps keeps your financial institution – no matter its size – visible to customers and allows your organization to retain a revenue stream from the interchange. Marketing campaigns and consumer education efforts are useful in promoting the benefits and convenience of adding bank-branded cards into third-party wallets and merchant apps.

Reward customers for transactions with loyalty programs. When you reward consumers who choose your card, you not only strengthen relationships but also help ensure your financial institution remains part of the payment. Mobile-driven loyalty programs drive consumer adoption of mobile payments – and influence future choices in mobile payment apps.

Deploy Peripheral Services. Peripheral capabilities, such as mobile alert services, card management, and payment-related functionality like mobile photo bill pay, create more value around mobile payments and position financial institutions to encourage mobile payments at the point of sale.

Develop a holistic mobile payments strategy. As noted above, contactless mobile payments to retailers and merchants will likely see a boost from Apple Pay due to the company's influence and market share, so it's important to keep an eye on the horizon for developments in this space.

However, mobile payments at the point of sale are only part of the equation. Consumers have become increasingly comfortable using their mobile device to pay a bill, pay another person or move money among their own accounts. Financial institutions should promote the various ways a person can pay using their mobile device, such as person-to-person payments, online bill pay, mobile photo bill pay and mobile deposits. Consider the entire consumer experience – and how Apple Pay and similar capabilities fit into your financial institution's existing mobile payments strategy.

Financial institutions are ideally positioned to help consumers with whatever mobile services they are using, including mobile payments at the point of sale. To remain effective, continue to build solid relationships with consumers, give consumers a reason to bank with your financial institution, and provide the services consumers are looking for, including on the digital channel. By thinking and acting strategically about this next step in the mobile payments evolution, your financial institution can remain an important part of the mobile commerce ecosystem.

Shirra Frost can be reached at

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