People on the Move: A.J. Koehn, Urban FT

A.J. Koehn has joined Urban FT Inc., a digital payments platform provider and 2017 Pay Awards winner for Startup of the Year, as its new senior vice president of compliance and program management. “With more than 15 years’ experience in financial compliance and risk management, A.J. brings to Urban FT an established track record of leadership in navigating BSA and AML compliance, as well as interpreting legal and regulatory requirements in the context of existing and new product development,” said Richard Steggall, Urban FT CEO. Since 2001, Koehn has held senior compliance and risk mitigation roles with U.S.- and Canadian-based companies—with a particular focus on online payments and prepaid card issuance in North America and Europe. She is also active in a number of professional associations to advance the practice of financial compliance and is a candidate for ACAMS certification.

BofA Simplifies Money Management for Customers Using Third-Party Apps

Bank of America is testing a service enabling its customers who use third-party data aggregators to view their financial information in one place. BofA is testing the capability with two financial data aggregators to enable customers to securely connect data from their bank accounts to third-party money management apps.

Following improvements to the bank’s security center and its mobile and online banking features, customers will be able to monitor which companies have permission to view their information. Data are shared between the bank and data aggregators through a shared API, and data aggregators use unique tokens to protect usernames and passwords. To use the service, customers log into the data aggregation service they use and add or verify their Bank of America accounts. They will be connected to the BofA site to agree to share data and then customers will be able to start using their data aggregation services. The service is expected to be ready this fall, according to BofA.

“We value customer choice and want customers to securely access their information when and where they want,” said Michelle Moore, BofA head of digital banking. “For customers who use data aggregation services, we are making it more transparent and simpler for them to see who they’re sharing data with and to turn it off when they want.”

The service is a key part of BofA’s API strategy to enable the bank to serve its customers in “an expanding financial ecosystem,” according to Aditya Bhasin, BofA head of consumer and wealth management technology.

Spain-based financial services group BBVA announced last week it is allowing access to customer data, with their permission, so that third-parties could offer financial services, according to Financial Times. Companies will be able to use customers’ transaction data to offer “lifestyle services.” For example, startup banks in the U.K., such as Monzo and Starling, offer money management services.

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Visa Bolsters Transaction Security

Visa is beefing up its Verified by Visa authentication service. The payments network said it’s upgrading its back-end to support 3-D Secure 2.0. The 3-D Secure messaging protocol was invented by the network more than 15 years ago and has become an industry standard for online authentication.

The updated technology will enable issuers and merchants “to customize the authentication process and ensure the consumer experience is easy and fast,” Visa said. “Visa has enhanced the data transfer between merchants and issuers to use an unprecedented number of transaction attributes (e.g., device type, shipping address). This allows merchants and financial institutions to authenticate customers more accurately in real time.” That matters because such changes can reduce checkout time by 85 percent, which in turn can lead to significant reductions in cart abandonment for online and mobile shoppers, according to Visa.

Current Visa rules for merchant-attempted transactions will remain in place until April 2019, so  issuers and sellers are able to test, pilot and refine the new authentication procedures. “By helping to lead the development of 3DS 2.0, we are able to offer an enhanced authentication service that makes these payments both faster and more secure,” said Mike Lemberger, senior vice president, product solutions Europe, Visa.

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Square Launches Virtual Terminal Service in U.K.

About two months after launching in the U.K., Square has introduced its Virtual Terminal service there. The technology enables merchants to accept payments through the Square dashboard, an appealing prospect for online service providers, contractors and other smaller firms that do relatively few face-to-face transactions, the company said.

Square already has launched the service in the U.S., Australia, Canada and Japan. Square said the technology has processed some $300 million worth of transactions globally. After signing up with Square for free, users of Virtual Terminal pay a flat 2.5 percent transaction fee for purchases that involve the major card brands.

“Virtual Terminal is something our sellers have been asking us for and has already proved hugely popular around the world,” said Sarah Harvey, U.K. lead, Square. “We are pleased to be bringing it to the U.K.’s thriving community of small- and medium-size businesses.”

Square estimates that half of the U.K.’s 5.4 million small businesses do not yet take card payments.

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People on the Move: Tommaso Zanobini, Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank has named Tommaso Zanobini global head of financial technology. The Deutsche Bank fintech group is a joint venture between the financial institutions group and the technology, media and telecoms group. Zanobini, who is based in New York, will report to Celeste Guth, financial institutions specialist, and Mark Keene, technology banker. Zanobini will be working with the bank’s fintech leaders in the Americas and Europe. He previously was the global head of financial technology and services at Jefferies and he also served as the global head of technology services at Barclays.