Fall Conference Season: All about AI

By Loraine DeBonis, Director of Marketing and Communications

The talk on the payments conference circuit (PayThink in September and Money2020 in October) largely focused on artificial intelligence. Specifically, industry leaders are examining ways to take advantage of AI, more specifically, machine learning, to reduce costs, prevent fraud, improve customer service and more.

It’s hard to remember when artificial intelligence wasn’t a buzzword (or phrase) right up there with blockchain and cryptocurrency. What’s behind the buzz?   

$1.1 trillion.

That’s the amount Bain & Company estimates the banking industry will save by deploying AI.

“AI brings opportunity,” said Michelle Ziolkowski, SVP, head of Global Payables, Treasury Management at Wells Fargo, during her keynote address at PayThink in Austin.

Mastercard Loyalty Global Group Head Kirsty Rankin agreed. “AI helps you better understand the customer and improve the experience,” Rankin said during a panel on AI in payments. She described AI’s ability to create a “virtuous pattern of prediction, learning and optimization” that leads to intelligent, relevant and responsible marketing.

The theme continued at Money2020 in Las Vegas, where Feedzai unveiled Genome, a dynamic visualization engine using AI technology to help fraud analysts quickly identify emerging financial crime patterns. During his demo of the technology, Pedro Bizarro, co-founder and chief science officer, was asked whether he thought AI could replace fraud analysts. His reply: “No. AI gives fraud analysts super powers.”

That aligns with how we see AI in the customer service and dispute arena, as well.

AI Makes Phone Agents Better

“Artificial intelligence is going to be a significant contributor to our business,” Ubiquity Chief Innovation Officer Corey Besaw told Medici Studio during an on-site interview at Money2020. “The fundamental thing though, we feel, is that customer service is going to continue to rely on human connections into the future. Just because you can automate something, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do so.”

Ubiquity’s AI focus is on software that listens to conversations between customers and phone agents (who handle customer service and disputes) in real-time and ultimately helps the agent deliver a better experience, while also keeping an ear out for potential risks associated with compliance, mistakes or things like social engineering, said Besaw.

The agent-support software was developed at Ubiquity’s Innovation Lab in Amsterdam through a startup the company founded called Aigent, where Besaw also serves as chief product officer.

“We really see the human staying in the interaction but simply being made better by artificial intelligence,” he said. 

Loraine DeBonis is the marketing and communications director for Ubiquity Compliance Solutions, which specializes in dispute and chargeback management, fraud and identity verification services for the financial services sector. Previously, she spent 10 years writing about prepaid and emerging payments for SourceMedia and Paybefore. She can be reached ldebonis@ubiquitycompliance.com.