As Apple bites into payments, what can Financial Institutions (FI) learn from the Californian giant? Until recently, this would be a question anyone in a FI anywhere in the world wouldn’t consider worthy of a moment’s thought. Even now, as the rumour mills begin to work overtime, churning out various theories about how Apple Pay will impact FIs globally, it’s unlikely much attention will be focused on how Apple managed to reach a position where they could lob a fingerprint-activated hand grenade into the payments space. Concerns amongst the financial establishment will continue to revolve around how they will be impacted and how they can best protect their turf but there’s an important lesson for those that are interested.

Most assessments of Apple’s success tend to focus on the obvious, the must-have products and the driven personalities with planet-sized egos that have and continue to inhabit their Cupertino Campus. However, this quote from the late Apple leader provides a clue to the real secret of the brand that sold 10million iPhone 6s in the first weekend following launch.

The contribution we were trying to make embodied values that were not only of technical excellence and innovation, which I think did our share off, but innovation in a more humanistic way. The things I’m most proud of Apple is of those two things that came together.” Steve Jobs.

Although it’s the word on everyone’s lips these days, the key word here isn’t “innovation”. The truth is, you can be the most innovative innovator in Innovationville and you won’t innovate anything Steve would’ve been proud of without a healthy dollop of “humanistic” insight. Humanism can be simply defined as showing concern for the interests and needs of humans and in the context of product and brand development it’s more commonly referred to as ”customer focus” or being “consumer-centric”.

This is the deeply embedded Apple attribute that FI’s could learn most from, especially here in Australia, but what do you think the chances are of that happening? Could you describe your FI as a genuinely humanistic organisation? Marketing budgets that rival or even surpass those of Apple regularly broadcast how committed they are to enabling their customers hopes and dreams. However, a quick look at their social media sites reveals a very different story. Dissatisfaction is the dominating and consistent theme. It’s not going to change any time soon either, no matter how much “the lady doth protest”, because shareholder interests will always be placed before those of their customers.

Here at Tyro, our current buy-line tells you we’re about producing “Innovation that pays.” It’s a snappy double entendre that neatly encapsulates our genuinely innovative payment solutions with a pun on “pays”. However, it’s what makes our innovation pay that really matters. Our not-so-snappy version reads, “Innovation that provides faster, more reliable and secure payment solutions for Australian merchants.” Tyro’s purpose is single-mindedly humanistic and Australian merchants are at the very heart of every innovative thing we do. We think Steve Jobs would approve.