By Rich Syme, Executive Vice President, Digital & Contact Center Delivery-Product Management
Of my childhood memories, those that stand out most vividly are the family trips to Grandma’s house in Lyman, Wyoming. It was there we’d spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays and just about every other occasion worth celebrating. Congregating in her kitchen, we were surrounded by stories, laughter and the delicious aroma of what was cooking. Another detail I clearly recall was the black rotary phone hanging on the wall—the kind you would literally dial.
It was an endless source of entertainment for my cousins and me. In those days, small communities had shared or ‘party’ lines, meaning you could pick up the phone for all the latest news and gossip, like Myrtle from down the street talking to Aunt Irene about her latest needlepoint project, or whether Edith in Fort Bridger really had the county’s best strawberry rhubarb pie (or if the fair judges were a bit biased).
Yes, what we do with phones has changed quite significantly since then. They’ve gone from being a simple way to speak with someone else at a distance, to multipurpose tools integrated into nearly every aspect of our lives. My children and grandchildren do not have wall-mounted telephones with long, curly cords; instead, they carry incredibly powerful devices that put the vast collection of human knowledge and achievement at their fingertips. Smartphones changed the world and in a manner few could have imagined several years ago. We now use them to talk, text, Google, navigate, shop, record our memories, catch rides, and accomplish so much more.
Of course, I’m particularly interested in how these devices can help us better manage our money. I’m proud America First was an early adopter of mobile banking technology. Since 2002, members have checked balances, reviewed transaction histories, and made transfers with their phones. As mobile technology evolved, we introduced a state-of-the-art app that helps you deposit checks, pay bills, apply for loans, and find deals & discounts from local merchants.
America First mobile banking has advanced tracking features, as well as the ability to add accounts at other institutions for a more complete picture of your finances. And because creating a budget and sticking to it can be tedious, the app generates personalized plans based on previous purchases. The system automatically assigns transactions to spending categories and it’s continually learning, providing the most accurate assessments.
To further enhance your experience, we developed Card Guard mobile security, giving you control of how, where, and when your Visa® credit & debit card cards are used. You can additionally set up account activity alerts and limit them to certain geographical areas.
It is our ongoing commitment to deliver the products and services you need to achieve financial health, and these benefits are a good snapshot of how we’re doing. Our talented mobile services department’s primary goal is to surprise, delight and empower the membership. If you haven’t already, download mobile banking and Card Guard to see if we’re meeting that lofty expectation.
Given the rapid pace of technological advancement, I wonder what my relatives and other folks in the Lyman of my youth would think about the smartphones we now have in our pockets. It would be fun to hear what topics Grandma, Myrtle and Aunt Irene might be gossiping about, but it’s likely they’d be chatting about neighborhood events via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, reddit, or another new platform. Because, even after all these years, we haven’t changed so much what we say, we just changed what we use to say it.