Financial Institutions Find Success With Apple Pay


Just a few short months ago, Apple® set out to revolutionize the payments experience with the promise of frictionless, secure mobile payments at the point of sale. Many financial institutions were "all in" from the day of the announcement, and soon began making plans for how and when Apple Pay™ would be rolled out to their customers.

New York-based NBT Bank and Hawaii's American Savings Bank are early adopters of Apple Pay. The Fiserv clients were both eager to begin the enrollment and onboarding process, and just weeks after rolling out Apple Pay to customers, both organizations are seeing positive results.

Although American Savings Bank's customers weren't specifically asking about Apple Pay, the bank rightly felt there was an "unspoken demand" for the capability. Just six days after a limited, soft launch to employees – and before any Apple Pay announcements to the general public – American Savings Bank had already enrolled more than 1,100 customers. NBT Bank had a similar response during their first week.

Apple Pay fits perfectly with our strategies for consumer engagement – and for giving our customers all the options they need to conduct their financial lives.

Apple Pay uses a digital token rather than a traditional payment account number at the point of sale. 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. Fiserv has been working with Apple, MasterCard and Visa to ensure financial institutions have the ability to tokenize their eligible card programs – and keep financial institutions' cards at the top of any wallet.

"The payments world is all about mobility, convenience, speed and access," said Edward Mitchell, senior vice president and director of operations for NBT Bank. "Apple Pay fits perfectly with our strategies for consumer engagement – and for giving our customers all the options they need to conduct their financial lives."

Both banks worked closely with Fiserv on their implementations, beginning with webinars and staff training to get a solid understanding of what was needed and when. Creating process flows and mapping the various parties involved helped the banks better understand the provisioning process and ultimately, the customer experience. To help ensure payments and returns would be handled correctly, payments were tested with employees, merchants and the card companies.

Kim Swenson, vice president of card and consumer loans for American Savings Bank, called the Apple Pay rollout one of the bank's best implementations ever. Although every implementation requires time and resources, Swenson said deploying new technologies like Apple Pay is essential.  "If you don't keep pace, you run the risk of losing customers," she said.

As more and more consumers upgrade to Apple Pay-enabled devices – and as the number of merchants that support the transactions increases – most in the industry expect Apple Pay transactions to increase substantially in the coming months. Getting ahead of the game helps ensure customers don't begin to look elsewhere for the capability.

"Is Apple Pay going to be right for every customer? No, but that's why we're going to continue to offer other methods of payment," said Mitchell. "Whenever our customers are ready for Apple Pay, we'll be ready."

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