Going Head First with Apple Pay: Q&A with AFCU

Even though the shine may have worn off, Apple Pay buzz still has a little “zz” left in it. While bankers are a little less mystified by the service, brave FIs are adopting and moving forward to become one of the first to market. Wanting to learn more, we spoke with one of the early adopters, America First Credit Union. AFCU was the second credit union to be a participating Apple Pay issuer and is currently only 1 of three credit union partners of the program.  You can see the full list of participating issuers here.

To get a better sense of what adopting Apple Pay actually looks like, we chatted with Brice Mindrum, mobile services manager for America First Credit Union.

Banking.com: Now that you’ve been offering Apple Pay to customers for a few days, are you seeing a rapid adoption? Are these users continuing to use the service?

Brice Mindrum: We are seeing significant adoption from our members, many of whom were eagerly waiting for our cards to be supported. We expect transaction volume to grow rapidly as more and more merchants begin to support NFC in the coming year.

What’s the question your members continue to ask you about Apple Pay?

Members continue to ask where they can use Apple Pay and where it will be available.

Do you expect any changes in the interaction with your members from the new service?

We are excited to offer Apple Pay to our members, especially those who are excited to use it.

Are you adding any additional security or authentication on top of provisions within the Apple Pay service?

We believe the security measures implemented by Apple and Visa are sufficient.

As the holidays are fast approaching, do you foresee any change in how your members will be making their purchases?

We expect our members enrolled in Apple Pay will use it at every opportunity, and will view both America First and the merchants who support Apple Pay as innovative.

In adopting Apple Pay, did you view this as a welcome technology? Is there a general sense of excitement or anxiety from  your employees?

We welcomed Apple Pay and we were pleased to be among the first few financial institutions to offer it. Our employees, who are accustomed to our embrace of innovative technologies, welcome Apple Pay and look forward to helping members use it.

To launch the service, was there any additional training you had to give employees? 

Although Apple Pay is very intuitive and easy for members to set up and use, we trained our employees in advance of deploying Apple Pay so we would be ready to answer their questions.

Were you already planning on launching  or do you already have EMV cards? How did this affect your attitudes as a business towards Apple Pay?

We will be issuing EMV cards soon. We see Apple Pay as a more modern, potentially more powerful tool in our efforts to reduce fraud, but EMV is already underway with issuers and merchants and will have a more immediate impact. This will change as the number of merchants supporting Apple Pay increases and more cardholders convert to smartphones.

How do you think credit unions and banks who are not yet offering Apple Pay will fare?

We believe there are members who will look for Apple Pay and similar technologies and will find financial institutions which support it.


Are you still questioning the move to offer Apple Pay to your customers or members? We want to hear it! Let us know your thoughts via email, social or in the comments below.

Written by Banking.com Staff