In any relationship, trust matters.
Ever more so with banking relationships in the digital age of commerce, where faces never meet and where data breaches dominate headlines.
In an interview with Ray Wizbowski, chief marketing officer for Entrust Datacard, PYMNTS’ Karen Webster delved into what trust really means when there are disparate and far-flung channels across which to do business.
Broadly speaking, said Wizbowski, consumers trust their financial institution (FI) to introduce new ways to pay, new ways of opening accounts. And, he said, there is a lot of risk taken on to keep those relationships intact.
Over the past couple of years, he said, there has been “a push toward what I would term a more flexible financial institution.”
Relationships have evolved beyond the traditional consultations borne out of walking into a brick-and-mortar setting — a retail branch outlet, of course — or of interacting with an ATM. Banks are striving to offer a variety of interactions across several different types of channels. Those far-flung channels foster a conversation “between the banks and their customers that allows them to gain even more trust,” amid frequency of contact, said Wizbowski.
It’s not just about putting money in a vault, checking the vault and dealing with the money anymore. “It’s more about having a conversation around ‘how do I run my financial life’ across digital” offerings, said Wizbowski, including mobile apps, with features and functionalities developed around those apps.
The conversation turned to compromised identities — which, of course, is an existential threat to trust between consumers and their chosen financial institutions.
Offering ways to authenticate consumers while they are engaging with their institution is a proactive way to help cement the trust factor, said Wizbowski. Banks need to look at how they are protecting their access points and who has access “to what and from where” when it comes to data.
Entrust Datacard seeks to take the “F out of authentication” — a.k.a taking the friction, frustration and factors out of the interactions a consumer has with a bank. “I want to be able to identify you as my customer,” he said of the institution’s general goals.
Banks can give consumers a lot of choice, among them the ability to set policies within their own banking apps online. For instance, when a transaction’s value is over a set amount, “I want a push notification to my mobile phone … [letting] me verify that that is me who is doing the transaction,” Wizbowski said. Banks must weigh that consumer self-determination against their own risk policies, with an eye on how much risk they want to take and how much they know about that customer. Major banks have APIs that allow them to have that control.
Who owns the data? That question, a perennial one in banking, has yet to be answered, certainly not yet in legislation nor fully answered in commerce, said the executive. However, consumers are claiming “more and more that ‘I own my data.’” The quandary now is on the economics behind the data (and just how much firms can seek to bring that data to their own marketing efforts). “Data is money as some have couched it,” he told Webster.
When a breach happens, several things are needed to regain consumers’ trust, said Wizbowski. And yet, Webster noted, in the widely publicized Target breach, loyal customers still shopped at the retail giant. Perhaps people have become numb to the fact that there are so many breaches out there.
There are two thrusts in the market right now: to build more layers of security into any infrastructure and, “at the same time, you have the fatigue of, how many challenge questions can I have?” posited Wizbowski. How many times must one reset their password?
Thus, there’s been an inexorable push toward adaptive authentication, toward machine learning and artificial intelligence, because, as the executive told Webster, the “behaviors that you and I have are unique to us.” Patterns over time show how individuals check accounts or move money. And, he said, taken all together, “it is very tough to overcome multiple touchpoints of data” that say you are who you say you are, no matter the efforts of the fraudsters.
“It does fall to the financial institution to always be proactive in building out security measures that protect identities,” he told Webster. “As we look forward, we are going to see more and more focus on identities.”
“I would rather be trusted than loved,” he surmised of the most effective FI/consumer relationship. “You may not love the way that your bank interacts with you … but you trust that they are going to watch out for you.”