For Fiserv, a focus on financial services innovation means a focus on the end-user experience. As a company that works primarily with other financial institutions to offer solutions for their own customers, both consumer and corporate, Fiserv has a wide reach in the FinServ space. Last year, the company won not one but two awards at the PYMNTS Innovation Project 2016 Awards, nabbing Gold for Best Check Innovation and Gold for Best Debit Innovation.
This year, Fiserv is nominated for yet another PYMNTS Innovation Project award, this time for the NACHA Best Innovation in ACH Award. The nominations represent just how diverse Fiserv’s solutions are, and that variety in financial services technologies gets Fiserv President, Chief Executive Officer and Director Jeff Yabuki energized.
“We’re at a really exciting time in financial services, where there are so many examples of fantastic innovation around the market,” he recently told PYMNTS.
In the last year alone, since winning those IP awards, Fiserv has introduced several of its own solutions to the market to add to that product diversity.
Some of them surround the issue of payments security. The company rolled out a new tool last June, Verifast: Palm Authentication, which uses biometric identification technology for financial institutions to assure the identity of customers visiting their branch locations. That same month, the company introduced Notifi, an alert system that aggregates information across financial institutions to give customers alerts on a single platform. Those alerts can be low balances or suspicious card activity, for instance, and can be sent via text message, email or push notification in mobile banking apps.
“You can’t trade off security for anything,” Yabuki said of the importance payments security plays in the financial services sphere. “Security tends to always be a requirement.”
The CEO also noted that many of Fiserv’s latest offerings center around the theme of payments speed. The company launched Zelle in conjunction with Early Warning last year, enabling financial institutions to offer a secure P2P payments solution for their own customers, something Yabuki explained aims to help “bring bank-based P2P payments into the mainstream.”
Fiserv also got a chance to think on its toes with PYMNTS last year when it was one of 14 companies that participated in the Alexa Challenge, which asked firms to create a solution that uses Alexa’s voice-activation technology to help consumers interact with their financial service providers.
“We’ve got more than a handful of organizations right now using Alexa for everything from checking balances to initiating payments,” reflected Yabuki. “We think voice is a really interesting way to enhance the customer experience.”
Fiserv is yet again nominated for a PYMNTS Innovation Project Award, this time for the NACHA Best Innovation in ACH Award. The nomination surfaces at a time when Same Day ACH is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, and Yabuki noted that payments speed “will continue to be important,” especially when it comes to giving consumers control over when and how to control the speed of a payment. As far as the rest of 2017 goes, the executive said that Fiserv will also be continuing its exploration of the use of data, highlighting Notifi as one area of the firm for continued growth.
“There are many elements of data that go into the relationship between a customer and their financial institution,” he explained. “This alert engine, Notifi, has been built to take all the sources of data and allow consumers to be empowered in their financial lives on the basis of interaction delivered in real time. So, the ability for us to capture insights from information is an important aspect of what we’re looking at in 2017.”
Across the board, whether it be providing financial institutions with B2B or B2C services around payments security, speed or elsewhere, Yabuki said Fiserv keeps three things in mind when it explores where to go next: “expertise, functionality and experience.” That last piece — experience — is paramount to Fiserv’s innovation strategy, he added.
“Much of the financial services space is quite interesting, because money is so emotional, and financial institutions are charged with helping their customers navigate the complexities of financial services,” Yabuki stated. “For us, we’re really focused on making sure we are delivering experiences that are deemed innovative.”
That concept applies to services whether they integrate with top companies like Amazon or generate a new tool for customers to use. “Most innovation today manifests in an experience,” he continued. “It’s really at this intersection of expertise, functionality and experience. And when you get that right, I think that’s really what innovation is in the world of financial services.”