Deflecting Fraudsters & Championing Trust

January 06, 2022

A KEY POINT that Equifax Vice President of Verification Services Shelly Nischbach makes when meeting with lenders is that the credit industry along with customer demands are continually evolving. And this ongoing shift to digital transactions means lenders establishing online relationships with their customers will be an increasingly important strategy to enhance the customer journey and build trust.

What’s the best way to optimize digital trust? There’s no easy answer, but when done the right way, institutions can strengthen loyalty with their customers while still protecting the business and clients from fraud. It’s why Equifax has evolved to become a leader in security to help businesses meet shifting demands while supporting cyber resiliency.

Following is a Q&A with Nischbach and Rich Stuppy, vice president and chief customer experience officer at Kount, an Equifax company. They share thoughts on fraud, the customer journey and optimizing trust. 

What are the fraud and verification concerns you’re hearing from customers? Why is fraud a different kind of business? 

Nischbach: Fraud continues to be top of mind and the No. 1 focus for many of our lenders. It is referenced in many places in our client meetings and at the recent Money 20/20 conference. It is challenging how many forms it can take. There are extremely sophisticated fraudsters.  

Our differentiated data indicates one in five borrowers admits to misrepresenting their income. We get about that same statistic from lenders. That being said, knowing who you are dealing with on the other end is critical in making sure your decisions are accurate with current data to combat that fraud issue.

Stuppy: Part of the challenge is developing the understanding that fraud can be individual actors and organized crimes that act like a business. These organized crime connections can be multinational. Businesses need to understand what kind of attack they are undergoing. The reason fraud is a different business is because it only falls under two rules: don’t get caught and get the money. When you compare that to what legitimate businesses have to deal with with thousands of rules, that asymmetry makes the fight a tough fight. You have to bring in an understanding of digital. It is an everyday battle. An approach to solve those challenges is through data. 

How do trust and customer experience play into the customer journey? 

Stuppy: As the world travels this winding road that we call digital transformation, businesses of all shapes and sizes are enjoying many more opportunities in these challenges. What people are figuring out, including Kount, is that in the digital world, even though it is relatively anonymous, it is a data-rich environment. In the digital world you can leverage the right data at the right time to have and build a much more comprehensive understanding of your customer. This allows you to craft an amazing, well-branded customer experience to help maximize the two key levers.

These two key levers are maximizing revenue opportunities and maximizing customer lifetime value. Once you have that knowledge and treat the customers the way they are supposed to be treated by stopping the fraudsters and creating a custom strategy for your customers, they will come to trust you and you can trust them. Building that trust is a two-way street and that customer will reciprocate with their wallet. 

Nischbach: Lenders have to develop that process in the safest and quickest way. Lenders need more loans and they need to do it with less risk. Being able to find that quality borrower and delivering their needs before they move to someone else is critical. The trust in this equation shows that you have a mutually beneficial relationship. 

To read Nischbach’s and Stuppy’s full insights, click here.