David Britton, VP Industry Solutions, Global Identity & Fraud at Experian shares his thoughts on what it takes to balance consumer demand and business investments in an evolving fintech landscape of the future:
David, we’d love to hear more about your journey and role at Experian? Take us through Experian’s team experience running business through the pandemic in 2020 (and 2021!).
My role at Experian is focused on developing our strategies within our Global Decision Analytics business, with a specific focus related to our future plans around Identity and Fraud. Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to have a front row seat to the evolution of both the cyber fraud threats and the challenges of authentication across the evolving digital identity landscape, which tend to go hand-in-hand in the digital world. It has been my desire to ensure that we always approach this space with an eye on how to mitigate threats, while also considering the impact any solutions may have on the overall consumer experience.
Here at Experian, throughout the pandemic we focused on providing data-driven solutions and research to help businesses navigate through new challenges and new changes. We also worked with businesses to implement these changes to be sustainable throughout and following the pandemic.
In order to explore the shifts in consumer behavior and business strategy pre and post pandemic, Experian conducted three iterations of our Global Insights Report, releasing results for each version in July, November, and February.
To develop the study, we interviewed 9,000 consumers and 2700 businesses across 10 countries around the world on insights related to consumer and business economic outlooks, financial well-being, online behavior and more.
In each iteration, key themes emerged on both business investment priorities and shifting consumer behavior.
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How has the pandemic impacted the way users are demanding better / safer transactions: can you share a few thoughts on how top providers in the global fintech market have come up with innovative solutions to meet today’s needs?
While the pandemic contributed to the rise in digital transactions and greatly accelerated consumer demand, the fintech industry worldwide had largely anticipated this change, although not at the pace that ultimately transpired. Those changing habits brought on by the pandemic have now become a preference rather than a forced choice, and fully 38% of consumers indicated that they expect to increase their online activity in the next 12 months.
Despite being accelerated by the conditions of the pandemic, solutions that meet consumers’ safety and security desires, while also achieving the rising consumer demand for a seamless experience, are more than a passing trend. This is particularly true across banking and retail services, where we continue to see an influx of new fintech solutions providing alternatives to the traditional providers. And the speed with which fintech solutions are being introduced into the market and the flexibility they offer consumers, are setting a new standard as the global economy shifts into a post-pandemic normal.
In the payments space specifically, another development that will be interesting to watch is the rise of the “Buy Now Pay Later” model, which 31% consumers have used throughout the pandemic. The combination of e-commerce and payment technology, with the additional lending component, will be an interesting innovation to watch throughout the fintech industry.
Digital payments have been on the rise for a long time, the pandemic only accelerated this need and demand, could you share a few thoughts on the future of digital payments? How do you feel the market will shape up in the near-future?
The most trusted payment solutions depend on user adoption and accommodating the needs of the consumer. While a single solution can’t fit everyone’s preference, the desire for convenience and security remain consistent. Fifty-five percent of consumers say security is the most important factor in their digital experience.
Generally, we are seeing a host of new payment methods that are starting to take on a greater share compared to the traditional credit card. In fact, Experian found that 60% of consumers are using a universal mobile wallet. Mobile wallets that tie to a number of diverse P2P or non-card payment methods are clearly gaining appeal.
As it relates to managing the risk associated with digital payments, businesses are gravitating towards solutions that will be data-driven and focus beyond just the moment of the transactional event, to include a more comprehensive understanding of the digital journey. This creates opportunities for a higher touch digital interaction. 59%of businesses are investing in advanced analytics and AI and 51% of businesses are investing in fraud detection methods or software to reduce friction in the customer experience.
We would further suggest that businesses consider the interplay between their ability to accurately identify their customers not only at the point of opening an account, but as a fundamental underpinning to their entire lifecycle. Knowing who the customer is throughout their journey can allow businesses to provide better service and improved experiences, while also ensuring greater security in the interactions; something that benefits both the consumer and the business.
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As payments and newer B2B SaaS solutions reshape how users, brands, banks, merchants transact today – what do you feel are some of the concerns that businesses need to be focusing on?
In a market with explosive growth in digital channels, it’s important to remember that the digital channel is still very much an anonymous environment where fraudsters continue to thrive. Therefore, a consistent concern among businesses is appropriately around fraud protection. It is encouraging to note that businesses are investing in these solutions to not only protect business interests but to meet the security standards we are finding more and more crucial to the customer experience. More than half of businesses plan to increase fraud management budgets, this is highest in the U.S. at 69%.
A few thoughts on some of the most trusted payment solutions that users / businesses seem to gravitate towards because of their features, user experience?
The future of digital payments will depend on a seamless user experience, consumer convenience, and security. These transactions are bolstered by consumer confidence in digital payments. Across several industries, payment system providers are the most trusted among consumers, highly trusted by 50 percent of consumers globally, followed by retail banks at 47 percent. We feel strongly that digital payments will continue to grow in consumer adoption and business investment.
Solutions that prioritize these three factors: user experience, convenience, and security, will determine how the market operates. Our study also found that companies who prioritize consumer expectations will invest accordingly to accommodate the consumer demand, thereby benefiting from increased top-line growth.
As global fintech trends change and the market shifts due to business environments (and also Covid-19), what are your comments on the state of fintech in 2021 and beyond?
The state of fintech in 2021 will continue to focus on accommodating the rapid changes and the accelerated push into digital consumer access brought on by the pandemic, yet as the economy re-opens and consumer demand adjusts and the market overall stabilizes, we believe fintech solutions will not wane in preference.
Beyond 2021, we will see more and more legacy banks integrate with fintech solutions, and more consumers adopting a fintech-first preference. 9 in 10 businesses claim to have a strategy in place related to the digital customer journey. Nearly 50% of businesses have put this strategy in place since Covid-19 began. We can expect these trends to continue.
Before we wrap up, a few biggest learnings / tips you’d like to share with fintech and tech innovators?
As our research has consistently shown, fintech innovators and leaders need to balance between user experience and business security. No matter the size and scale of the company, this balance between consumer demand and business investment will be crucial to leaders moving into a rapidly changing fintech environment.
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