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A Look Inside Payments Giant Fiserv: 'People Value Real-Time Speed'

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A Look Inside Payments Giant Fiserv: 'People Value Real-Time Speed'

The Benzinga Fintech Summit is a gathering of the top leaders in payments, lending, capital markets, blockchain and cryptocurrencies in San Francisco Nov. 14. Ahead of the Summit, Benzinga is profiling fintech thought leaders who are speaking at the event.

For this installment, Benzinga interviewed a payments executive in charge of relationships with startups — Paul Diegelman, the vice president of partnerships at Fiserv's electronic payments business.

What is Fiserv, and what do you do? 

Fiserv Inc (NASDAQ: FISV) is a global provider of financial services technology. Think of virtually any aspect of your day-to-day financial life, and there is a very good chance that Fiserv is involved. The debit card in your pocket? Fiserv produces that. When you go to the store and swipe your card and the transaction is approved? Fiserv makes that happen. Your online and mobile banking? Fiserv.

Our goal is to ensure that financial services fit seamlessly and beneficially into people’s lives, and we’re committed to enabling people to move and manage money intelligently, with ease, speed and convenience.

What is Fiserv's place in an ever-changing payments ecosystem? 

Life is moving faster than ever before, and people expect to be able to do things in real-time — and that includes moving money and accessing financial information.

Fiserv is transforming payments by leveraging our unique strengths: our scale, our expertise and our ability to serve as a connection point for so many capabilities for our clients and for consumers. Because we work with so many financial institutions and our services are utilized by so many people, we are perfectly positioned to drive innovation in the payments ecosystem. 

What are the primary drivers of consumer payment decisions?        

The way consumers pay is constantly evolving. They want, and sometimes need, more choices, more convenience and more security. Consumers are looking for easy and flexible payment options so they can make payments the way they prefer at any given moment.

Take bill pay as an example. Fiserv research shows that the average consumer pays their bills using an average of three-and-a-half different methods each month, and they often don’t choose the same method for the same bill each month. One month they might pay their gas bill through their bank, and the next month they pay the same bill at the gas company’s website.  

Consumers also want to be able to send and receive money faster. With the growing gig economy, a number of people earn money from short-term engagements, freelance work and on-demand roles. Many of them are looking for immediate access to earned wages, and companies are working with technology providers like Fiserv to meet this need. 

How do businesses decide on payment options to satisfy their consumers? 

Businesses today are focused on driving enhanced consumer engagement and reducing payment processing costs and fraud rates.

For companies sending payments to consumers, offering real-time payment options can drive consumer engagement. For businesses receiving payments from consumers, offering an array of payment channels and options at compelling cost points is also a driver of enhanced consumer engagement, since consumers are busy and want to pay when and where they want.  

How does a new technology like blockchain impact Fiserv and your fintech clients? 

Blockchain has the potential to transform business models by enabling processes to be faster, more efficient and also more transparent and secure — all while enhancing information access and data integrity.

Pick a service that involves moving assets, and it's likely blockchain has the potential to play a role. It could transform person-to-person payments, data sharing, person-to-business money transfers, securities exchanges or even movement of frequent flyer miles.

For instance, Fiserv research has shown people value real-time speed both in accessing their money and in making their payments. Blockchain offers a path for financial institutions and fintechs to meet those expectations.  

What do you predict will be the biggest change in payments infrastructure in the next five years? 

Significant demand exists to increase the speed at which all types of payments settle. Consumers are driving the need for expedited, real-time payments to help manage cash flows in an increasingly on-demand world. 

The growth of real-time payments is a long-term trend, not a short-term anomaly. Businesses and financial institutions have a number of paths to choose from to offer real time payments as they adapt to this new normal. They must determine what use cases and which path is best for them. Virtually all will require an upgrade or enhancement to current infrastructure, so having the right partners in place to support these changes will be essential.

Related Links:

The Money Man: Venture Capitalist Dan Ciporin Talks Fintech

IBM Platforms CTO On Collaboration Between Banks, Fintech Startups: 'There's No Shortage Of Desire On Either Side'

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