Everything is strange now. If you’re reading this after we’re out of the weeds, congratulations. Because right now? It’s strange.
One disappointment for many is graduation. It just won’t happen. Or at least not how seniors expected. So, as support, a social media movement arose to share your own senior photo. I don’t get it, either.
A teenage certainty is that old people are not cool. So old people showing how old they are by sharing photos as teenagers? Yeah, as I said, we’re in strange times.
Anyway, it’s just a whole bunch of scared and restless people trying to help. Which I respect. We’re all in this together, in totally different ways.
So, Data Security?
Yes, sharing your senior photo (along with supplemental info, for some reason) is bad. And that data is getting scooped up for nefarious uses. Like what? Well, that info tends to answer a lot of security questions.
And don’t get me started on those Facebook personality tests that you have to tap Play and allow your info to be shared. Don’t. Do. Them! It’s literally handing your data over to someone you don’t know at all.
Definitely watch below to hear my perspective on security questions.
In fact, watch below to get the story. Ok, not the whole story, but the part that I could fit into a few minute video. Data security is important, and as a financial institution, it’s in your best interest to extend good practices far and wide.
FYI: The shirt is from an annual run put on by local high-schoolers to raise money for a children’s cancer hospital. I’m a huge fan of the irony. And these teenagers are consistently awesome. I’m really sorry they’re missing graduation.
Today, Apple held their seasonal keynote event, to highlight new services in a range of categories. You may get a kick out of their Apple TV+ lineup. Maybe you’re stoked about reading all your magazines on your iPhone with Apple News+.
But you’re here for Apple Pay improvements. We are talking about the banking world, right?
It’s a “mobile-first” card, in that you do most of your spending, tracking, and reward redemptions all within the app.
The entire platform lives within the native Wallet app in your iPhone. No more downloading a banking app just to pay the credit card bill.
You can track spending by category, merchant, and even view trends. Payments are simplified, with realtime interest calculations based on what you choose to pay. And rewards deposit daily (they’re calling it Daily Cash) into your Apple Cash account (we’ve spoken about this before).
And the physical card is shiny! (It’s made out of titanium!)
Fabulous metal aside, you care about what the card offers. And is it a threat to your institution?
Spoiler: Yes. Probably.
The Apple Strategy
With more than a billion active devices, any time Apple does something, it matters. Few companies have the ability to affect the behaviors of so many so quickly. I’m not even suggesting you try.
What they did with Apple Card is look at all the pain points within the credit card realm:
Redeeming (and understanding) rewards
Understanding interest costs (and how to minimize)
Getting questions answered
Then they added a bit of Apple touch to align the offering with their mission:
Beauty (it’s subjective, sure, but the card is so pretty!)
The result is a mobile-first, simplified, and streamlined vision of a credit card.
Here’s how they addressed those pain points:
Application: Tap to apply. Done. It automatically issues the digital version, adds it to your Wallet, and that’s it. The physical copy gets mailed.
Tracking spending: The app color-codes spending categories, gives merchants their real logos, and uses machine learning (AI) to decrypt those obscure “IC SPEND A-MERCH 14312” charges (it was the Greek food truck, by the way). It will even show it on a map and link to it on Yelp!
Paying/Interest: Graphical wheel that you slide your finger around to see your payments change, along with the interest accrued. Financial education with a swipe.
Rewards: 3% at Apple, 2% using the digital version, 1% with physical card. Redeems automatically as cash every day (with notation) into your Apple Pay Cash card. Which you can spend at merchants, online, send to friends/family, and more.
Privacy: No merchant gets any details about you on any purchase.
Security: Every payment uses a one-time code (just like any other ApplePay transaction). Suspicious transactions appear as notifications (and can be approved or denied with a tap). A new card is sent out and no changes needed.
Support: Using Business Chat for iMessage, customers can simply text their question to the service. A person answers and helps them out. Through their normal messaging app.
Fees: They don’t have them. Any. At all.
Can Your Credit Union Compete?
That’s a great question. On the surface, no. You cannot create such a streamlined system with the tight integration between bank and provider.
However, all is not lost!
I’ve made a point to talk about partnering in many previous posts. It’s just as valuable (if not more so) today!
Your institution is good at the money part. You might also be great in the relationship area.
But, let’s be honest. You’re not awesome with the technology. It’s a constant effort to keep up with evolving expectations as it is, right?
That’s why you need to partner with companies who specialize in these things. My last post talked about making member communication simple. That’s one of their pain points!
And the most cynical/sarcastic/actually realistic answer to this question:
Sure, because it only works for members with an iPhone. Look at all those Android users you can still attract!
Mobile First = Simple First
You’ll hear a lot of talk about how “mobile first” design is essential. That making services for a computer is immediately alienating your target audience. I’m betting the firms which sell you these platforms will be climbing over each other to talk about how their stuff is so mobile first ready.
It’s not wrong. There’s a lot of value to making sure your offering is accessible from where people are.
However, I want to be clear:
Mobile First doesn’t just mean you need to make sure it works on phones.
Mobile First means that your driving strategy is:
How can we make something so simple, so intuitive, so obvious that members can do what they want in a few seconds?
Apple stepped back and saw many of the traditional challenges in credit cards. Then, they built a system (with appropriate partners) to overcome these “yucky spots”.
It’s about looking at what the real problems are, and how you can address them.
If Edison had only tried to make a brighter candle, he would never have invented the light bulb.
To help illuminate (pun actually not intended, but enjoyed) your best path forward, I encourage you to Subscribe to my blog.
It’s a topic you’ve seen here before. Time and again. Of course, it’s still pertinent since we keep using them. Passwords are a bane of the tech world. Unless you can invent a simple way to authenticate yourself with any service, they’re going to stick around for a while. That doesn’t mean we need to despise them, though. In the past, we have discussed the problems on both ends, from policies that lead to creating awful passwords, to people insisting on using “love”, “*dogname*”, and “!23456”.
Like the question of eggs being healthy or your worst nightmare, passwords see a wide variety of advice as the years go on. Some of it is due to a long period of terrible advice (which we discussed before, and, I’ll admit, my own suggestions evolved, too). Thankfully, this is changing…slowly. The other part is based upon processing speed increases; it’s easier than ever to parse billions of possibilities (using databases of common passwords from leaks combined with dictionary analysis). So what’s the current solution?
It’s lurking in plain sight, on all your devices. The best password is one you never create. Every modern platform supports strong password suggestions. Then, they save these passwords in a secured database, so you don’t have to put a note in your drawer (it’s ok, you’re not alone). Depending on the system, there might be a master password, or, it can combine with biometrics. Make this be your big, strong password, then never use it. Rely on the fingerprint scanner, FaceID, or other verification system.
On iOS (that’s iPhone and iPad), the next version will have automatic strong (Apple calls them complex) password creation and storing. That means, when a site asks to create a password, your phone already filled in a really good one. Then it saves it so you never even bother thinking of something. To log back in, your phone just asks for verification through TouchID or FaceID (depending on device). This is new; auto-fill now has security, too. Yes, you still have to create a unique username. Sorry, MarioKartKing is taken.
There’s another side of this revisit: Updating your password. I know, I know, I spoke strongly against this practice in the past. My position is unchanged. If you change your password, make it for a good reason. A brilliant website called haveIbeenpwned.com checks your e-mail address or usernames to see if they were included in any breaches. If so, it shows which and to what degree. Then, you know it’s time to update those passwords (and anywhere else you shared those credentials). That password auto-suggest is looking mighty nice right now.
Here’s the bottom line: With password managers so prevalent and easy to use, there’s no excuse to still create your own passwords. It’s putting you (and the data within) at unnecessary risk. It also saves time. When I read of a breach on a service I use, I just go in, update that password, and get back to my life. Since it won’t be shared with any other system, I don’t care what someone does with the information. Granted, if passwords were stored in a way someone could access them, I’d be questioning the utility of said service, given their poor security practices.
Bottom line of the bottom line: Complex, random strings of characters, stored in a quality password manager, is the best way to ensure your personal (or corporate) information remains only in the hands you want.
Resources (A non-exhaustive list of password managers)