By Roy Urrico
With financial services conferences and meetings limited to virtual gatherings, webinars now carry even greater importance than before. One fintech, Ondot Systems, is using monthly discussions to help financial institutions enhance card service levels, boost internal efficiencies and provide consumers with best practices.
The Santa Clara, Calif.-based digital card services firm’s next webinar, “Why Cards Are the New Focus for Digital Transformation,” scheduled for Sept. 22 (2 pm EST/11 am PST), focuses on the importance of a modern card program as the launching point for a financial institution’s digitalization journey. Founded in 2011, Ondot provides more than 4,500 credit unions and banks with a digital card services platform to drive cardholder engagement.
The online seminar will feature David Shipper, a senior analyst with Aite Group’s retail banking and payments practice, and Danielle Sykes, vice president of digital payments with Mastercard. Shipper will share key findings from his recent report on digital-first card programs within financial institutions. In addition, the panel is set to discuss what digital-first means for issuers; and what card modernization looks like across the entire card program lifecycle, from application and onboarding to cardholder engagement.
“The segment of cardholders who prefer to do business in a nondigital environment will become only smaller, so relying on customer loyalty and face-to-face interactions is not a long-term strategy,” said Shipper.
A previous webinar, “Creating Confident Customers in Uneasy Times,” which took place over the summer, provided insight into how financial institutions can step in as trusted advisors for customers and assessed the impact of the current pandemic.
“The key to making customers more confident is proactively anticipating their needs and meeting them,” said Chris Harris, senior director at Ondot. The webinar featured industry experts Jeff Crawford, senior manager, payments team from Accenture; George Kelsey, chief technology officer for EMEA at Ondot Systems; and Javier Rodriguez-Paiva, senior analyst, from Experian.
Following is a sampling of the interchange:
Kelsey said, “I don't think there's any doubt that 2020 has been a rough year financially for a lot of people. And this has impacted discretionary spending.” Kelsey saw changes in spending habits, mostly in the way people pay for goods and services. “People are relying more on digital payments and storing cards with merchant websites more often.”
A huge pivot to e-commerce mirrors the increased use of services like delivery apps. “The shift in behavior by consumers is definitely a fairly dramatic turnaround,” Crawford noted. He also observed, “All of the growth within payments was really captured in that e-commerce bucket. We expect to see some long-term durable shifts in the way that people pay.”
Rodriguez-Paiva observed consumers pulling back on credit and paying down card balances: “People are actually checking their balances more frequently. It shows an anxiety.” Not only checking, but understanding their finances.
On what financial institutions can do to ease that financial stress for consumers, Caldwell pointed to different actions financial institutions are taking to support economic recovery, as well as their customers and cardholders. “We see things like personal loan holidays, mortgage holidays, credit card fee waivers, auto service fee waivers. They're also engaging more in the community.” Crawford also mentioned limited instances including increases in limits on cash withdrawals or credit card overdrafts. Kelsey said: “There's lots of very positive short-term action, it is almost about stabilizing the situation.”
In addition, Rodriguez-Paiva said the pandemic dramatically accelerated digital transformation trends. “Banks were expecting to execute over a month or a year but it had to be executed overnight.”
The group also touched on the impact of cybersecurity. Rodriguez-Paiva noted, “People are consuming digital information and going mobile first. So, a lot of information is getting exposed.”
The sudden shift to a remote workplace has created dicey situations. Rodriguez-Paiva explained that because financial institutions could not anticipate this network use, “They might not have the resources to do comprehensive network vulnerability checks.” Kelsey said, “The rush of people to work at home actually opens up those companies potentially for more data breaches.” Added Crawford, “Consumer vulnerability and a decrease in confidence really creates favorable conditions for fraud.”
Here is a quick rundown of other tops covered:
· Communicating with customers. “The way you build trust is through personalized, relevant and timely communications. We are talking about a prioritization,” said Rodriguez-Paiva.
· Online and mobile. “How can we provide a differentiated experience even among those two distinct digital channels?” Crawford asked. One area of opportunity, using geolocation with smartphones. “Amazon has trained us all to expect packages in one to two days; that was a big shift of how we consume goods. There could be an opportunity for financial institutions to set the bar.”
· FIs creating digital strategies. Crawford said, “Digital strategy is not just ‘we have an online presence and we have a mobile banking app.’ It's really, ‘what are we hoping to accomplish with those assets?’” Kelsey added that financial institutions have to make sure it is relevant to the consumer.
· Personal financial management and budgeting. “It is newly relevant and important,” Crawford said, pointing out for features, such as setting goals, reminders and alerts for certain types of transactions. “But then also thinking through, how do I offer that to the consumer?”
· Self-serve empowerment. Kelsey said, “It's actually more about the ability to set your own spend controls, see your own transactions coming back at you, the ability to cancel your card.”