'Fintech industry faces similar challenges as the tech industry in terms of security hygiene,' says Tim Theuri

Leadership style combines a bottom-up approach
Tim Theuri is a cybersecurity and risk expert with extensive experience in the financial and telecommunications sectors. The combination of his cybersecurity expertise and his in-depth knowledge of risk management enables him to develop robust strategies that mitigate potential threats. Read on to discover his extensive experience in fintech and learn ways to stay apprised of the most recent technological developments in the industry. 

The fintech industry faces similar challenges as the technology industry in terms of basic security hygiene. However, the risk for any financial institution is significantly higher because customers trust them with their money and sensitive information.

Media 7: Can you share the highlights of your career path leading up to your current role as the Executive Head of Cybersecurity at M-PESA Africa?
Tim Theuri:
My interest in technology and cybersecurity began at a pretty early age when I was in primary school because I was always curious about technology. I was fascinated by the latest tech things. My passion for technology continued to grow during my undergraduate studies, where my interests in technology were refined, and I gained a sense of direction. For my undergraduate degree, I pursued software engineering as I always wanted to become a programmer, developer, or coder. However, coincidentally, I also completed my CPA (Certified Public Accountant) to have a balanced understanding of business and making money. After completing both of those degrees, I was fortunate enough to be selected for recruitment by Deloitte, where I began my career as a financial auditor before specializing in technology risk and data consulting. Following that, I transitioned to Safaricom, where I took on various roles, including audit, risk management, and technology. My big break came when I joined the M-PESA Africa family. As the Executive Head of Security, my role perfectly aligned with my interests in managing technology-related risks and contributing to financial inclusion for the African continent.

M7: Based on your experience as a systems and risk consultant, what do you think are the common IT risks faced by the fintech industry? How can those risks be mitigated?
TT:
I think the first part, unfortunately, is the truth. Some common misconceptions are related to busy systems, security hygiene risks, and a perception that cybersecurity requires something complicated or advanced due to the exposure we have to security breaches, hackings, and advanced persistent threats affecting large companies. However, in my experience, most cases reveal a lack of basic security practices. Simple measures, such as regularly changing passwords, ensuring system activity is monitoring, regularly reviewing users and system logs, and keeping systems up-to-date with patches, play a crucial role in cybersecurity. The fintech industry faces similar challenges as the technology industry in terms of basic security hygiene. However, the risk for any financial institution is significantly higher because customers trust them with their money and sensitive information. Failure to apply basic security practices can lead to breaches and erode that trust. Therefore, maintaining standard security hygiene is essential for both fintech and any technology industry to mitigate risks effectively.

One of the critical aspects of cybersecurity is knowing the asset inventory, as you cannot protect what you are unaware of. It's crucial to establish a schedule for patching systems and applying security updates, as well as having well-defined user governance processes and security policies in place. Raising awareness about these policies among all users helps reduce risks to a manageable level, though it's impossible to completely eliminate them. The adage holds that the only system that is 100% secure is one that is entirely shut down.

M7: M-PESA Africa processes a massive volume of transactions daily. How do you ensure the security and integrity of these transactions, and what measures do you take to protect customer data and privacy?
TT:
One of our most basic processes for ensuring the integrity of customer transactions is the customer PIN—a simple four-digit number providing end-to-end security. This PIN is known only to the customers themselves. At M-PESA, we don't have access to the customer's PIN, which ensures that their transactions remain protected and can only be initiated by the customers. However, we acknowledge that there's a possibility of customers being compromised, as we hear reports of such incidents. To address this, we run an awareness program for our customers, encouraging them to safeguard their PIN and never share it with anyone. This approach ensures that all transactions are genuinely initiated from the customer's handset.
Moreover, we prioritize security along the entire connection, from the phone to the M-PESA systems. This connection is end-to-end encrypted, safeguarding against any potential eavesdropping or tampering. Even the SMS initiated from the M-PESA site is encrypted using SSL and validated within our core M-PESA systems. Our system architecture is designed with defense in depth, similar to the layered security measures you might have at home with gates and multiple locks. We implement parametric security, security at the phone level, in the campus system, as well as in our applications and databases hosting customer data. Security is a fundamental aspect considered from the architecture stage and not added as an afterthought or bolted on later. This approach ensures that customer data and services are fully protected at all times.

M7: In your experience as an ISO lead internal auditor, what industry-specific challenges did you face when ensuring compliance with ISO standards? How are such challenges generally addressed?
TT:
ISO standards are a set of practices that guide any company, industry, or organization in applying international best practices for their respective industries. From my experience in both Safaricom and M-PESA, I've encountered two significant challenges. The first challenge is having the specific knowledge required to apply these general standards and practices to the fintech level. It demands a dual skill set: in-depth knowledge of the financial industry and technical expertise. Additionally, understanding the actual ISO standards and their application on a general basis is crucial. Safaricom has gained considerable experience with ISO standards and holds the most certifications among Eastern Central African companies. Leveraging this experience, we have developed a tribe of ISO qualified auditors and implementers who are well-versed in ISO requirements and can implement these processes across the entire organization at all levels.
The goal is to ensure that ISO knowledge is not limited to a single individual or team. Instead, the entire organization, including champions and leads, acts as a knowledgeable source in ISO processes. This widespread understanding enables everyone to contribute to the successful implementation of ISO practices in Safaricom and M-PESA.


Read More: Q&A with Anna Pavlovska, Executive Vice-president at VIALET


In today's globally connected world, cyber risks apply without discrimination to both new and old markets, whether they are within Africa or from outside the continent. Our approach to cybersecurity acknowledges this reality.

M7: According to you, what are the most major cybersecurity threats faced by the financial and telecommunication industries today?
TT: The biggest threats faced by both industries today are also opportunities. Ever since COVID and the shift to work from home, the envelope of staff work has expanded. We now see remote work as a state of mind rather than being confined to a physical location. This seamless work from home setup has its benefits, but it also exposes us to increased cyber risks. Previously, cyber threats were primarily focused on staff while they were at their workplaces, but now, working from home has created a new set of risks. Home environments may lack the typical perimeter of security measures found in offices, making them vulnerable to cyber threats.
We've had instances where staff accidentally downloaded malware while working from home, which could have been prevented if they were at the office. As a result, we had to rethink our approach to cyber protection and endpoint security to cover employees regardless of where they work. This led us to apply security measures to safeguard data wherever it flows. Cloud security plays a significant role in ensuring that whether employees work from home or office, they are equally protected without compromising security, portability, or their ability to work flexibly.

M7: How do entities in the fintech space across different countries navigate compliance requirements and ensure that cybersecurity practices align with relevant regulations in each market?
TT: Market regulations are crucial, but unfortunately, they are not yet standardized across Africa. While we have seen improvements in collaboration among market regulators, there is still a long way to go in establishing common continental or pan-African regulations governing the fintech space. The impact of this situation is that in each market we operate in, we prioritize establishing positive and mutual relationships with the respective regulators. This approach allows us to understand their objectives and compliance requirements while also educating them about our goals. It's a partnership where both parties work together to protect the users of our system. We view it positively as a collaborative effort.

This partnership enables us to not only meet the regulators' requirements but also strive to exceed them. We don't set our benchmarks based on each regulator's demands; instead, we aim to meet the strictest regulatory requirements across all markets. Whether it's about cybersecurity or resiliency, we ensure that our actions align with all the necessary requirements, regardless of the specific market. Our success lies in maintaining a strong partnership model with regulators and consistently striving to surpass even the strictest regulatory demands in the various markets we serve.

M7: How do you stay updated with the latest trends, emerging threats, and best practices in cybersecurity? How does that knowledge apply to financial and telecommunication industries?
TT:
I struggle to stay updated on my site, but I ensure I stay informed through two main avenues. Firstly, I am an active member of both the Isaka and ICQ communities due to my CISSP certification. My passion for cybersecurity leads me to research and share insights on the subject. Attending conferences and engaging with cybersecurity communities helps me stay up-to-date on the latest threats in the field.
Secondly, from a group perspective, M-PESA Africa operates as a subsidiary of Safaricom and Vodacom, both being subsidiaries of the Vodafone Group. Within this network, we have a cybersecurity community where best practices from the Vodafone Group are shared and applied across different markets. This community exchange benefits both from the telecommunications and financial aspects of our operations, helping us develop and implement effective strategies against emerging threats. For instance, when it comes to areas like artificial intelligence and blockchain, specific conferences are attended to explore ways to leverage these technologies within our fintech and telecom industries. This proactive approach helps us keep abreast of new threats and adapt our practices accordingly.

M7: M-PESA Africa is expanding into new markets, including Ethiopia. How do you adapt your cybersecurity strategy and practices to accommodate the unique challenges and regulatory requirements of each new market?
TT:
At M-PESA Africa, our vision and mission revolve around applying comprehensive cybersecurity controls for all markets, regardless of whether they are new or well-established. We do not differentiate when it comes to cybersecurity; all markets receive equal attention. Our commitment is to ensure that all controls are uniformly applied across our vast estate, without any discrimination or differentiation.
To achieve this goal, we take into account the requirements of all regulators, implementing even the strictest regulatory demands consistently across all markets. This approach allows us to maintain a consistent and level playing field for cybersecurity controls, reducing our overall cybersecurity risk to the minimum possible. In today's globally connected world, cyber risks apply without discrimination to both new and old markets, whether they are within Africa or from outside the continent. Our approach to cybersecurity acknowledges this reality and ensures that all markets are equally protected from potential threats.

Read More: Kraken's Head of Banking and Payments, Maximilian Marenbach discusses their platform and the future of cryptocurrencies


The dynamic nature of cybersecurity in the technology industry applies to enterprises involved in content creation and those seeking to build a brand image and connect with customers.

M7: We would like to know your opinions on thought leadership. According to you, how can thought leadership shape a company's brand identity?
TT:
M-PESA Africa, being the largest and most significant mobile money service, has established its brand based on creative and innovative ideas. Our focus on developing leadership and prioritizing customer service with new and innovative products has strongly connected us with our customers. As a result, we are the largest mobile money service in all the markets where M-PESA operates. This sustainable growth enables us to achieve our mission of financial inclusion and empowering our customers. Moreover, our strong brand presence has helped us connect with customers globally, even in markets where we don't have a physical footprint. This means that if we were to expand to new markets, we would start on a positive note with a well-recognized mobile brand, M-PESA.

M7: Considering the dynamic nature of cybersecurity and the need to drive impactful information technology changes in enterprises, what strategies do you recommend for content creation and advertising to effectively communicate an organization's expertise and insights to your target audience?
TT:
The dynamic nature of cybersecurity in the technology industry applies to enterprises involved in content creation and those seeking to build a brand image and connect with customers. In summary, they must understand their target audience and fulfill their needs to become successful companies. Passionately understanding and serving the customer is what differentiates leaders in this field. While there are numerous strategies that can be adopted, the key lies in building a staff culture that is dedicated to serving the customer with passion. This principle holds true for any enterprise, regardless of whether they are involved in cybersecurity technology or not.

M7: How do you foresee the future of cybersecurity in the fintech industry as it continues to embrace and adopt new innovations like digital wallets, blockchain, and open banking? What are the key cybersecurity considerations that will arise with these advancements, and how do you envision addressing them to ensure the security and trustworthiness of financial services in the evolving fintech landscape?
TT:
Combining two of my passions, cyber security, and blockchain security, I have given numerous talks on how these fields can be combined. From the fintech industry perspective, let me start with blockchain. As we all know, blockchain originated from a cybersecurity perspective, with Bitcoin being the first successful blockchain product. Over the past 12 years, the fintech industry has witnessed the continuous evolution and experimentation with blockchain technology. We keep a close eye on these developments and explore how to leverage them securely, including innovations like open banking and trustless security.
Artificial intelligence is another aspect that has gained significant attention recently. However, as customers understand and utilize these technologies, they become intrinsic and essential, moving beyond just hype. As leaders in the fintech industry, we must embed these technologies and advancements to provide value to our customers. Regarding cyber security considerations, we consistently update ourselves on evolving cyber risks. Before rolling out any product to customers, we conduct a thorough security review to ensure it is secure from the customer side to the system side. We strive to eliminate any vulnerabilities or potential malicious uses. We are one of the first companies to have a public bug bounty program in collaboration with our partner, HackerOne. We engage white-hat hackers on the Internet, providing them access to some areas of our system. If they identify any vulnerabilities, we conduct a paid bug bounty and promptly address and fix those issues. Cyber security is deeply ingrained into our approach to new technologies and advancements.

ABOUT M-PESA AFRICA

M-PESA Africa's financial innovations expand clients' options. Our platform, Africa's largest fintech, connects 50 million clients, 600,000 agents, 5 million businesses, and 59,000 developers to execute over 70 million transactions everyday. Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, DRC, Lesotho, Ghana, Egypt, and soon Ethiopia are our markets. The M-PESA Super App allows businesses and organizations to create digital mini-app stores to satisfy consumers' daily needs and facilitate their digital lives.

More THOUGHT LEADERS

Q&A with Christine A. Moore, Managing Director, North America at FirmDecisions

Media 7 | September 7, 2021

Christine A. Moore, Managing Director, North America at FirmDecisions has over 20 years of agency and in-house experience in commercially driven roles. Her global knowledge is complemented by an in-depth understanding of the US market and an extensive marketing procurement background. Christine has also served in CFO and COO roles across the agency business and has held roles at the likes of PepsiCo Inc., Interpublic, Dentsu International, MDC Partners and WPP during her career....

Read More

Q&A with Nick Baker, Managing Director at Bakehouse Communications

Media 7 | February 11, 2021

Nick Baker, Managing Director at Bakehouse Communications, is a brand and customer experience specialist with over 30 years in the client and agency financial services environment. He has held senior marketing roles for life, pensions, and investment companies. He was the Marketing Director at Irish Life UK, and Head of Communications for Barclays Investments before owning a successful marketing agency. He has been responsible for bringing countless innovative products and over 14 brand new financial services businesses to market, including operating recently as a NED for a retail property investment fund manager. He is the founder and director of an online simplified protection business, called simple and open. Putting the customer at the heart of clients’ businesses has been his career–long passion....

Read More

Kraken's Head of Banking and Payments, Maximilian Marenbach discusses their platform and the future of cryptocurrencies

Media 7 | October 27, 2021

Maximilian Marenbach, Head of Banking and Payments/Business Development at Kraken Digital Asset Exchange, takes us through his professional journey with Kraken - one of the largest and oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Read on as he talks about the Kraken Bank,  the significance of digital currencies and their impact on our financial system....

Read More

Q&A with Christine A. Moore, Managing Director, North America at FirmDecisions

Media 7 | September 7, 2021

Christine A. Moore, Managing Director, North America at FirmDecisions has over 20 years of agency and in-house experience in commercially driven roles. Her global knowledge is complemented by an in-depth understanding of the US market and an extensive marketing procurement background. Christine has also served in CFO and COO roles across the agency business and has held roles at the likes of PepsiCo Inc., Interpublic, Dentsu International, MDC Partners and WPP during her career....

Read More

Q&A with Nick Baker, Managing Director at Bakehouse Communications

Media 7 | February 11, 2021

Nick Baker, Managing Director at Bakehouse Communications, is a brand and customer experience specialist with over 30 years in the client and agency financial services environment. He has held senior marketing roles for life, pensions, and investment companies. He was the Marketing Director at Irish Life UK, and Head of Communications for Barclays Investments before owning a successful marketing agency. He has been responsible for bringing countless innovative products and over 14 brand new financial services businesses to market, including operating recently as a NED for a retail property investment fund manager. He is the founder and director of an online simplified protection business, called simple and open. Putting the customer at the heart of clients’ businesses has been his career–long passion....

Read More

Kraken's Head of Banking and Payments, Maximilian Marenbach discusses their platform and the future of cryptocurrencies

Media 7 | October 27, 2021

Maximilian Marenbach, Head of Banking and Payments/Business Development at Kraken Digital Asset Exchange, takes us through his professional journey with Kraken - one of the largest and oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Read on as he talks about the Kraken Bank,  the significance of digital currencies and their impact on our financial system....

Read More

Related News

Investment Management

AffiniPay Launches AffiniPay IQ, Generative AI for Legal Tech Industry

AffiniPay | January 24, 2024

AffiniPay, the leader in online payments and software solutions for professionals, announced the launch of generative AI embedded in its leading legal technology products, MyCase, CASEpeer, LawPay, and Docketwise. “At AffiniPay, we believe generative AI can drive the type of efficiencies and insights that will result in better outcomes for our customers and their clients,” said Dru Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer of AffiniPay, parent company of MyCase, CASEpeer, LawPay, and Docketwise. “As a trusted technology partner, we have big plans to empower our customers with AI, and are excited to announce the launch of AffiniPay IQ.” According to the newly released 2024 LawPay and MyCase Legal Industry Report, productivity is a key driver for generative AI investment, with 75% of law firms citing it as the top reason for their interest in AI. To meet this demand, AffiniPay is investing in generative AI and plans to roll out new solutions in a phased manner across the legal product suite. Starting with a MyCase beta, AffiniPay plans to extend various AI solutions to CASEpeer, LawPay, and Docketwise in the coming months. The company’s vision is that customers will be able to utilize AI-powered conversational interface that will enable users to access their data and generate insights using natural language, directly within the interface. These future features will include Case and firm search: Attorneys and staff can quickly get answers to their questions around a specific case or client, saving time in their day Intelligent insights: Law firms can receive customized recommendations to optimize intake, productivity, cash flow, and more Automation: Firms can create workflows, send payments, and open files - all by interacting with the platforms in a conversational way, just like they would with a trusted assistant The first beta release of AffiniPay IQ features include document summarization and text editing, both of which will be woven seamlessly into the suite of AffiniPay’s legal products. Starting with MyCase and CASEpeer, the following AI features will be built into daily workflows Document summarization: Empowers law firms to review case documents quickly using AI-generated summaries of their contents Text editing: AI-powered text editing embedded into the product to allow style updating, tone changes, and summarization “We are committed to our responsible approach to innovation, and are excited to launch generative AI functionality into our software that serves our customers and their needs, and no one else,” said Bryan Thompson, Chief Technology Officer of AffiniPay. “This is the first of many thoughtful generative AI features that our team will be weaving into our product suite over the coming months.” The second release of AffiniPay IQ features will include Communication drafts: Attorneys and staff can quickly generate first drafts of client communications or invoice reminders Translations: Users can translate text into different languages instantly Task & event generation: Law firms can select and analyze text in notes, documents, or emails, and receive suggestions for tasks or events, saving time at every step Data population: Docketwise-specific AI feature that instantly extracts key information from copies of passports, drivers’ licenses, and birth certificates, to automatically populate immigration SmartForms AffiniPay invites legal professionals to experience AffiniPay IQ from Jan. 29 - Feb. 2, during Legalweek in New York, where both LawPay and MyCase are sponsors. About AffiniPay AffiniPay is a market leader in practice management software and online payments for professionals serving legal, accounting, architectural, engineering, and construction firms. AffiniPay has been recognized as one of Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing companies for 12 years in a row. Each of its brands leads the market it serves with solutions purpose-built by industry including LawPay, MyCase, CASEpeer, Docketwise, CPACharge, and AffiniPay for Associations. AffiniPay’s solutions are trusted by more than 245,000 legal & accounting professionals with more than 150 strategic partnerships and endorsements, including the American Bar Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Read More

Payments

ServiceNow announces five-year strategic alliance with Visa to transform payment services

ServiceNow | January 25, 2024

ServiceNow the leading digital workflow company making the world work better for everyone, announced a five-year strategic alliance with Visa, a world leader in digital payments, to transform payment services. The initial phase includes the launch of ServiceNow Disputes Management, Built with Visa—a single, connected disputes resolution solution for issuers. Managing disputes currently involves multiple systems and teams, and many financial institutions often use siloed solutions that are not fully integrated with one another. This disconnected approach creates complexity, delays crediting and resolving disputes, can create potential losses, and ultimately, impacts the customer experience. ServiceNow Disputes Management, Built with Visa is a streamlined solution that blends the best of ServiceNow’s AI-first platform and the company’s Financial Services Operations solution with Visa’s deep technology investments. Each year, Visa helps prevent $30 billion in fraud for consumers and small businesses using cutting edge technology, including tokenization and AI, deployed throughout the entire payments ecosystem, including disputes management. “At the heart of our alliance is a commitment to build industry-leading products that help financial institutions boost employee productivity, create great customer experiences, and drive business growth,” said John Ball, senior vice president and general manager, customer and industry workflows, ServiceNow. “By making Visa’s services available through ServiceNow’s intelligent, AI-first platform, we’re powering innovation and setting a new standard in the payments industry.” “Solving customer pain points is core to our business at Visa, and collaborating with an industry leader like ServiceNow will allow us to help issuer partners resolve disputes more efficiently,” said Vanessa Colella, global head of innovation and digital partnerships, Visa. “ServiceNow and Visa look forward to offering clients the latest technology solutions, so they can focus on delivering an excellent experience for their customers.” ServiceNow Disputes Management, Built with Visa will unite the entire dispute management process – from the first indication that a charge is questionable to early resolution, investigation, and final resolution. It includes a single experience for solving disputes so that employees can have high quality engagements with cardholders, as well as dashboards, automation, alerts, and the ability to audit all transactions. Two standout features enhance its efficiency: a modern, user-friendly low code platform that allows financial institutions to make swift updates to their disputes management process, and generative AI-powered experiences that improve customer intake and agent investigation. The solution also incorporates ongoing changes to disputes rules and applies industry best practices for processes, workflows, and staying ahead of fraud. “Banks should prioritize their CX efforts around the drivers that most influence customer loyalty. For example, resolving problems and issues quickly remains one of the most important drivers of CX and retention for many banks,” wrote Alyson Clarke, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “Banks that adopt modern and flexible digital banking processing platforms will find it easier and faster to deliver innovative (and profitable) customer solutions.”1 ServiceNow is committed to revolutionizing financial services with new products and services. This initial integration marks the beginning of a more extensive, multi-phased relationship between Visa and ServiceNow. The companies will continue to build new solutions and will distribute Visa products and services to joint customers. Together, ServiceNow and Visa will help clients improve dispute management. 1Forrester, Consumer Banking Trends, 2024: Trends Shaping Retail Consumer Banking In The Current Economic Climate, Jan 17, 2024 About ServiceNow ServiceNow makes the world work better for everyone. Our cloud‑based platform and solutions help digitize and unify organizations so that they can find smarter, faster, better ways to make work flow. So employees and customers can be more connected, more innovative, and more agile. And we can all create the future we imagine. The world works with ServiceNowTM.

Read More

Core Banking

Backbase Enters Into an Agreement With Danske Bank to Enhance Its Digital Customer Experience

Backbase | January 12, 2024

Backbase, the global leader in Engagement Banking, has made an agreement with Danske Bank, a leading Nordic bank based in Copenhagen, Denmark. This agreement provides Danske Bank with access to Backbase's Engagement Banking Platform, which will progressively be implemented across our digital channels in the coming years. This will enable Danske Bank to offer its customers a continuously improved digital customer experience, as the enhanced flexibility allows it to tailor its business operations around customer journeys. Frans Woelders, Chief Operating Officer at Danske Bank, highlights: “This engagement is a testament to our customer focus and our commitment to ensuring the best digital banking experience for the future. A new platform that works across the web, mobile apps, and our adviser tools is one of the ambitions in Danske Bank’s Forward ’28 strategy, and the agreement with Backbase is the next step towards achieving that ambition.” Our Engagement Banking Platform plays a pivotal role in achieving Modernization and simplification of the existing IT landscape by reducing the number of silo-ed channel applications. Mobile-first engagement model, establishing a customer-centric approach, seamlessly guiding customers between automated and expert advice. Unified platform, consolidating data, business logic, and workflows into a single, customer-centric platform for efficient journey orchestration, benefiting both customers and bank employees. Agility and freedom, enhancing flexibility to swiftly implement business capabilities and adapt to evolving market dynamics. Christian Bornfeld, Head of Personal Customers and Financial Crime Risk and Prevention at Danske Bank, says: “This platform will allow us to take our interaction with customers through our digital solutions to the next level and to introduce enhancements at greater speed than ever before. It will thus enable us to provide market-leading convenience and personalization for our customers with great insights, increased proactivity, and easy access to assistance and advice.” Jouk Pleiter, Founder and CEO of Backbase, shares, “We are thrilled to announce the engagement with Danske Bank, a visionary collaboration set to redefine the future of banking. Together, we will execute a bank-wide, digital transformation program and elevate Danske Bank's customer experience to new heights.” About Backbase Backbase is on a mission to re-architect banking around the customer. Backbase created the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform – a unified platform with the customer at the center, empowering banks to accelerate their digital transformation. From customer onboarding to servicing, loyalty, and loan origination, our single platform — open and frictionless, with ready-to-go apps — improves every aspect of the customer experience. Built from the ground up with the customer at the heart, our Engagement Banking Platform easily plugs into existing core banking systems and comes pre-integrated with the latest fintechs so financial institutions can innovate at scale. Industry analysts Forrester, Gartner, Celent, Omdia, and IDC continuously recognize Backbase’s category leadership. Over 120 financials around the world have embraced the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform - including AIB, Banorte, Barclays, BIAT, Bank of the Philippine Islands, BDO, Banque Saudi Fransi, BRD, Citibank, Citizens Bank, Discovery Bank, First National Bank, HDFC, Ila Bank, KeyBank, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest, Navy Federal Credit Union, OTP Group, PostFinance, Raiffeisen, RBC, Standard Bank, Saudi National Bank, Société Générale, Truist, and TPBank.

Read More

Investment Management

AffiniPay Launches AffiniPay IQ, Generative AI for Legal Tech Industry

AffiniPay | January 24, 2024

AffiniPay, the leader in online payments and software solutions for professionals, announced the launch of generative AI embedded in its leading legal technology products, MyCase, CASEpeer, LawPay, and Docketwise. “At AffiniPay, we believe generative AI can drive the type of efficiencies and insights that will result in better outcomes for our customers and their clients,” said Dru Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer of AffiniPay, parent company of MyCase, CASEpeer, LawPay, and Docketwise. “As a trusted technology partner, we have big plans to empower our customers with AI, and are excited to announce the launch of AffiniPay IQ.” According to the newly released 2024 LawPay and MyCase Legal Industry Report, productivity is a key driver for generative AI investment, with 75% of law firms citing it as the top reason for their interest in AI. To meet this demand, AffiniPay is investing in generative AI and plans to roll out new solutions in a phased manner across the legal product suite. Starting with a MyCase beta, AffiniPay plans to extend various AI solutions to CASEpeer, LawPay, and Docketwise in the coming months. The company’s vision is that customers will be able to utilize AI-powered conversational interface that will enable users to access their data and generate insights using natural language, directly within the interface. These future features will include Case and firm search: Attorneys and staff can quickly get answers to their questions around a specific case or client, saving time in their day Intelligent insights: Law firms can receive customized recommendations to optimize intake, productivity, cash flow, and more Automation: Firms can create workflows, send payments, and open files - all by interacting with the platforms in a conversational way, just like they would with a trusted assistant The first beta release of AffiniPay IQ features include document summarization and text editing, both of which will be woven seamlessly into the suite of AffiniPay’s legal products. Starting with MyCase and CASEpeer, the following AI features will be built into daily workflows Document summarization: Empowers law firms to review case documents quickly using AI-generated summaries of their contents Text editing: AI-powered text editing embedded into the product to allow style updating, tone changes, and summarization “We are committed to our responsible approach to innovation, and are excited to launch generative AI functionality into our software that serves our customers and their needs, and no one else,” said Bryan Thompson, Chief Technology Officer of AffiniPay. “This is the first of many thoughtful generative AI features that our team will be weaving into our product suite over the coming months.” The second release of AffiniPay IQ features will include Communication drafts: Attorneys and staff can quickly generate first drafts of client communications or invoice reminders Translations: Users can translate text into different languages instantly Task & event generation: Law firms can select and analyze text in notes, documents, or emails, and receive suggestions for tasks or events, saving time at every step Data population: Docketwise-specific AI feature that instantly extracts key information from copies of passports, drivers’ licenses, and birth certificates, to automatically populate immigration SmartForms AffiniPay invites legal professionals to experience AffiniPay IQ from Jan. 29 - Feb. 2, during Legalweek in New York, where both LawPay and MyCase are sponsors. About AffiniPay AffiniPay is a market leader in practice management software and online payments for professionals serving legal, accounting, architectural, engineering, and construction firms. AffiniPay has been recognized as one of Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing companies for 12 years in a row. Each of its brands leads the market it serves with solutions purpose-built by industry including LawPay, MyCase, CASEpeer, Docketwise, CPACharge, and AffiniPay for Associations. AffiniPay’s solutions are trusted by more than 245,000 legal & accounting professionals with more than 150 strategic partnerships and endorsements, including the American Bar Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Read More

Payments

ServiceNow announces five-year strategic alliance with Visa to transform payment services

ServiceNow | January 25, 2024

ServiceNow the leading digital workflow company making the world work better for everyone, announced a five-year strategic alliance with Visa, a world leader in digital payments, to transform payment services. The initial phase includes the launch of ServiceNow Disputes Management, Built with Visa—a single, connected disputes resolution solution for issuers. Managing disputes currently involves multiple systems and teams, and many financial institutions often use siloed solutions that are not fully integrated with one another. This disconnected approach creates complexity, delays crediting and resolving disputes, can create potential losses, and ultimately, impacts the customer experience. ServiceNow Disputes Management, Built with Visa is a streamlined solution that blends the best of ServiceNow’s AI-first platform and the company’s Financial Services Operations solution with Visa’s deep technology investments. Each year, Visa helps prevent $30 billion in fraud for consumers and small businesses using cutting edge technology, including tokenization and AI, deployed throughout the entire payments ecosystem, including disputes management. “At the heart of our alliance is a commitment to build industry-leading products that help financial institutions boost employee productivity, create great customer experiences, and drive business growth,” said John Ball, senior vice president and general manager, customer and industry workflows, ServiceNow. “By making Visa’s services available through ServiceNow’s intelligent, AI-first platform, we’re powering innovation and setting a new standard in the payments industry.” “Solving customer pain points is core to our business at Visa, and collaborating with an industry leader like ServiceNow will allow us to help issuer partners resolve disputes more efficiently,” said Vanessa Colella, global head of innovation and digital partnerships, Visa. “ServiceNow and Visa look forward to offering clients the latest technology solutions, so they can focus on delivering an excellent experience for their customers.” ServiceNow Disputes Management, Built with Visa will unite the entire dispute management process – from the first indication that a charge is questionable to early resolution, investigation, and final resolution. It includes a single experience for solving disputes so that employees can have high quality engagements with cardholders, as well as dashboards, automation, alerts, and the ability to audit all transactions. Two standout features enhance its efficiency: a modern, user-friendly low code platform that allows financial institutions to make swift updates to their disputes management process, and generative AI-powered experiences that improve customer intake and agent investigation. The solution also incorporates ongoing changes to disputes rules and applies industry best practices for processes, workflows, and staying ahead of fraud. “Banks should prioritize their CX efforts around the drivers that most influence customer loyalty. For example, resolving problems and issues quickly remains one of the most important drivers of CX and retention for many banks,” wrote Alyson Clarke, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “Banks that adopt modern and flexible digital banking processing platforms will find it easier and faster to deliver innovative (and profitable) customer solutions.”1 ServiceNow is committed to revolutionizing financial services with new products and services. This initial integration marks the beginning of a more extensive, multi-phased relationship between Visa and ServiceNow. The companies will continue to build new solutions and will distribute Visa products and services to joint customers. Together, ServiceNow and Visa will help clients improve dispute management. 1Forrester, Consumer Banking Trends, 2024: Trends Shaping Retail Consumer Banking In The Current Economic Climate, Jan 17, 2024 About ServiceNow ServiceNow makes the world work better for everyone. Our cloud‑based platform and solutions help digitize and unify organizations so that they can find smarter, faster, better ways to make work flow. So employees and customers can be more connected, more innovative, and more agile. And we can all create the future we imagine. The world works with ServiceNowTM.

Read More

Core Banking

Backbase Enters Into an Agreement With Danske Bank to Enhance Its Digital Customer Experience

Backbase | January 12, 2024

Backbase, the global leader in Engagement Banking, has made an agreement with Danske Bank, a leading Nordic bank based in Copenhagen, Denmark. This agreement provides Danske Bank with access to Backbase's Engagement Banking Platform, which will progressively be implemented across our digital channels in the coming years. This will enable Danske Bank to offer its customers a continuously improved digital customer experience, as the enhanced flexibility allows it to tailor its business operations around customer journeys. Frans Woelders, Chief Operating Officer at Danske Bank, highlights: “This engagement is a testament to our customer focus and our commitment to ensuring the best digital banking experience for the future. A new platform that works across the web, mobile apps, and our adviser tools is one of the ambitions in Danske Bank’s Forward ’28 strategy, and the agreement with Backbase is the next step towards achieving that ambition.” Our Engagement Banking Platform plays a pivotal role in achieving Modernization and simplification of the existing IT landscape by reducing the number of silo-ed channel applications. Mobile-first engagement model, establishing a customer-centric approach, seamlessly guiding customers between automated and expert advice. Unified platform, consolidating data, business logic, and workflows into a single, customer-centric platform for efficient journey orchestration, benefiting both customers and bank employees. Agility and freedom, enhancing flexibility to swiftly implement business capabilities and adapt to evolving market dynamics. Christian Bornfeld, Head of Personal Customers and Financial Crime Risk and Prevention at Danske Bank, says: “This platform will allow us to take our interaction with customers through our digital solutions to the next level and to introduce enhancements at greater speed than ever before. It will thus enable us to provide market-leading convenience and personalization for our customers with great insights, increased proactivity, and easy access to assistance and advice.” Jouk Pleiter, Founder and CEO of Backbase, shares, “We are thrilled to announce the engagement with Danske Bank, a visionary collaboration set to redefine the future of banking. Together, we will execute a bank-wide, digital transformation program and elevate Danske Bank's customer experience to new heights.” About Backbase Backbase is on a mission to re-architect banking around the customer. Backbase created the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform – a unified platform with the customer at the center, empowering banks to accelerate their digital transformation. From customer onboarding to servicing, loyalty, and loan origination, our single platform — open and frictionless, with ready-to-go apps — improves every aspect of the customer experience. Built from the ground up with the customer at the heart, our Engagement Banking Platform easily plugs into existing core banking systems and comes pre-integrated with the latest fintechs so financial institutions can innovate at scale. Industry analysts Forrester, Gartner, Celent, Omdia, and IDC continuously recognize Backbase’s category leadership. Over 120 financials around the world have embraced the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform - including AIB, Banorte, Barclays, BIAT, Bank of the Philippine Islands, BDO, Banque Saudi Fransi, BRD, Citibank, Citizens Bank, Discovery Bank, First National Bank, HDFC, Ila Bank, KeyBank, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest, Navy Federal Credit Union, OTP Group, PostFinance, Raiffeisen, RBC, Standard Bank, Saudi National Bank, Société Générale, Truist, and TPBank.

Read More

Spotlight

M-PESA Africa

We transform the lives of our customers by providing them with financial innovations that connect them to more opportunities at home and around the world. Our platform connects more than 50 million customers, 600,000 agents, 5 million businesses, and 59,000 developers processing more than 70 million...

Events

Resources