Deva Annamalai, Senior Director of Innovations and Insights from Fiserv tells us how financial institutions could innovate payments in Georgia.
Innovation is ripe in the Peach State. Fiserv, a provider of financial services technology, has had a presence in Georgia for more than two decades, and the state has become a key technology center for our company. Our office in Alpharetta reflects the Fiserv focus on innovation and delivering intelligent financial experiences in step with the way people live and work today.
Every day, millions of consumers, thousands of financial institutions and hundreds of organizations rely on Fiserv to move and manage money and information on their behalf. From back-office banking operations to mobile banking and payments, Fiserv is transforming financial services by leveraging our deep industry expertise and unique ability to serve as a connection point between financial institutions, businesses and consumers.
Because we work with so many financial institutions and our services are used by so many people, we recognize our central role in driving innovation in financial services. This requires tailoring capabilities to new technologies to ensure a positive and secure user experience. A good example is enabling payments through the Internet of Things (IoT), a topic I will be discussing as part of a panel at Fintech South in Atlanta.
Comprised of physical devices that can collect and exchange data, the IoT includes everything from connected cars to smart appliances, and the number of these devices is growing exponentially. With the number of connected devices expected to outnumber humans on the planet by four to one by 2025, interacting with the IoT will become part of our daily lives. And, as more payments and other financial activities inevitably take place via the IoT, financial service providers are being called upon to balance usability and security.
Enabling people to handle their banking and payment activity via the devices they already use daily will be essential in meeting consumer demand and demonstrating a company’s ability to deliver valuable, timely insight and assistance to a broad spectrum of customers. The IoT offers an opportunity for financial institutions and other businesses to build deeper connections, serve their customers in new ways and deliver seamless 24/7 experiences.
Providing the right customer experience
As with any new service offering, it is crucial to understand what capabilities are practical and how they can be delivered most effectively. As new connected devices emerge, financial organizations need to evaluate how customers interact with them, and if they are suitable for conducting financial tasks. For example, when driving in their connected cars, customers may want to check their balances and initiate bill payments. At home, they may want Amazon Alexa to help them stay within a budget or track savings toward a major purchase.
For financial institutions and other businesses looking to add value by extending existing capabilities to various devices in the IoT, the approach is the same as when evaluating which functionality to offer on a smartphone or a desktop. Start with these questions: What types of capabilities are practical for this device, and how will consumers want to access services from it?
The end-user must be at the heart of any new service experience developed for IoT. With today’s information overload, irrelevant information will at best be ignored and at worst annoy customers and prompt them to look elsewhere for services more in tune with their lifestyles.
Securing every financial interaction
In addition to the customer experience, security is an-ever present consideration for interactions via the IoT.
Money is a very personal and emotional topic, and when it comes to moving and managing money people value security. The balancing act between customer convenience and security will continue to shift as consumers demand new ways to interact with their money. However, a multi-layered approach to security will continue to be vital.
Nowhere is this more crucial than in payments. For example, if a customer wants to check his bank balance and pay a bill from his connected car, he could do so by accessing his online banking account, which already has multiple layers of security in place, via the car.
But what about payments that are initiated from a connected device outside of an existing payment application such as online banking? If your refrigerator recognizes that you are out of milk and automatically orders more, that payment also must be secured. In cases such as these, the security of the payment cannot reside exclusively with the device itself – there must be additional security layers residing elsewhere, such as in the cloud.
Open banking initiatives and the proliferation of application programming interfaces (APIs) will likely accelerate financial institutions’ ability to deliver services via the IoT. That, plus the projected explosion of connected devices, should propel players across the IoT ecosystem to come together to create robust security standards. A multi-channel, multi-device approach and thinking in terms of layered security are important considerations for financial services in this new world.
Integrating financial services into everyday lives with IoT
Using the data collected from connected devices will also help financial services providers to understand customer needs. Understanding how customers want to interact with their finances and enabling those interactions securely and in a way that is tailored to the device will enable the best possible experience and one that fits seamlessly into people’s everyday lives. Financial institutions and businesses that deliver intelligent experiences that are secure, contextual and relevant to users will succeed in enabling financial services via the IoT.About the author
Deva Annamalai is a technologist with experience in industries including banking, finance, mortgage, healthcare, B2B marketplaces, and logistics. As Senior Director of Innovation and Solution Strategy within the Billing and Payments Group at Fiserv he is responsible for payments strategy and solution consulting. Deva is also a principal advisor for the INV Fintech startup accelerator connecting financial institutions and fintech startups.
Fiserv drives innovation in payments, processing services, risk & compliance, customer & channel management and insights & optimization. Their solutions deliver intelligent experiences in banking, payments, engagement and security to help clients provide financial services at the speed of life.