2019 is here — with new technology, new regulations and new opportunities on the docket. What does that mean for the financial services space? Here are the five trends you should keep your eye on and how these affect your credit universe.
1. Credit access is at an all-time high
With 121 million Americans categorized as credit-challenged (subprime scores and a thin or nonexistent credit file) and 45 million considered credit-invisible (no credit history), the credit access many consumers take for granted has appeared elusive to others. Until now.
The recent launch of Experian BoostTM empowers consumers to improve their credit instantly using payment history from their utility and phone bills, giving them more control over their credit scores and making them more visible to lenders and financial institutions. This means more opportunities for more people. Coupled with alternative credit data, which includes alternative financial services data, rental payments, and full-file public records, lenders and financial institutions can see a whole new universe.
In 2019, inclusion is key when it comes to universe expansion goals. Both alternative credit and consumer-permissioned data will continue to be an important part of the conversation.
2. Machine learning for the masses
The financial services industry has long been notorious for being founded on arguably antiquated systems and steeped in compliance and regulations. But the industry’s recent speed of disruption, including drastic changes fueled by technology and innovation, may suggest a changing of the guard.
Digital transformation is an industry hot topic, but defining what that is — and navigating legacy systems — can be challenging. Successfully integrating innovation is the convergence at the center of the Venn diagram of strategy, technology and operations. The key, according to Deloitte, is getting “a better handle on data to extract the greatest value from technology investments.”
How do you get the most value? Risk managers need big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence strategies to deliver market insights and risk evaluation. Between the difficulty of leveraging data sets and significant investment in time and money, it’s impossible for many to justify.
To combat this challenge, the availability and access to an analytical sandbox (which contains depersonalized consumer data and comparative industry intel) is crucial to better serve clients and act on opportunities in lenders’ credit universe and beyond.
“Making information analysis easily accessible also creates distinct competitive advantages,” said Vijay Mehta, Chief Innovation Officer for Experian’s Consumer Information Services, in a recent article for BAI Banking Strategies. “Identifying shifts in markets, changes in regulations or unexpected demand allows for quick course corrections. Tightening the analytic life cycle permits organizations to reach new markets and quickly respond to competitor moves.”
This year is about meaningful metrics for action, not just data visualization.
3. How to fit into the digital-first ecosystem
With so many things available on demand, the need for instant gratification continues to skyrocket. It’s no secret that the financial services industry needs to compete for attention across consumers’ multiple screens and hours of screen time. What’s in the queue for 2019? Personalization, digitalization and monetization.
Consumers’ top banking priorities include customized solutions, omnichannel experience improvement and enhancing the mobile channel (as in, can we “Amazonize” everything?). Financial services leaders’ priorities include some of the same things, such as enhancing the mobile channel and delivering options to customize consumer solutions (BAI Banking Strategies).
From geolocation targeting to microinteractions in the user experience journey to leveraging new strategies and consumer data to send personalized credit offers, there’s no shortage of need for consumer hyper-relevance. 33 percent of consumers who abandon business relationships do so because personalization is lacking, according to Accenture data for The Financial Brand. This expectation spans all channels, emphasizing the need for a seamless experience across all devices.
4. Keeping fraudsters out
Many IT professionals regard biometric authentication as the most secure authentication method currently available. We see this technology on our personal devices, and many companies have implemented it as well.
Biometric hacking is among the predicted threats for 2019, according to Experian’s Data Breach Industry Forecast, released last month. “Sensors can be manipulated and spoofed or deteriorate with too much use. … Expect hackers to take advantage of not only the flaws found in biometric authentication hardware and devices, but also the collection and storage of data,” according to the report.
5. Regulatory changes and continued trends
Under the Trump Administration, the regulatory front has been relatively quiet. But according to the Wall Street Journal, as Democrats gain control of the House of Representatives, lawmakers may be setting their sights on the financial services industry — specifically on legislation in response to the credit data breach in 2017.
The Democratic Party leadership has indicated that the House Financial Services Committee will be focused on protecting consumers and investors, preserving sector stability, and encouraging responsible innovation in financial technology, according to Deloitte.
In other news, the focus on improving accuracy in data reporting, transparency for consumers in credit scoring and other automated decisions can be expected to continue. Consumer compliance, and specifically the fair and responsible treatment of consumers, will remain a top priority.
For all your needs in 2019 and beyond, Experian has you covered.