Payments, Podcasts

FIS’ Nicole Jass on helping SMBs with new products and features during this crisis

  • Small businesses have taken the pandemic on the chin.
  • FIS has been tweaking its products and roadmap in an effort to better serve them.

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FIS’ Nicole Jass on helping SMBs with new products and features during this crisis

SMBs have taken it on the chin during this crisis.

Nicole Jass, senior vice president of small business and fraud products at FIS joins us to discuss how small business needs have changed and how FIS has responded with product and an evolving product roadmap. The payments and financial technology firm has rolled out upgrades and new products for customers in the past couple of months and Nicole checks in to describe how they’re being used.

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The following excerpts were edited for clarity.

From adtech to fintech

I see more overlap between adtech and fintech. I came into FIS to run and drive data products. The thesis was that I had been helping marketers understand data and build data where there wasn’t any before to understand media effectiveness. I came in and looked at transaction data to see how it could help our clients better understand their customers and how they spend. We quickly connected that to fraud to understand what good and bad transactions look like. The need in today’s world to best leverage data and plug it in across product lifecycles is very important both in adtech and fintech.

Changing client needs

Both small and large companies have been affected. The impact is different, of course. Many companies have had to adjust to new ways to stay in business — that includes accepting contactless and remote payments, and curbside delivery to meet customers where and how they want to transact. Some businesses were more ready for this moment than others. They wanted help staying in business.

Businesses need capital and access to cash flows. And a secondary need — something we’re seeing more and more — is help fighting this new fraud and attack risk.

Helping customers

Luckily, we have products, like our virtual terminal, that many businesses had access to — it just wasn’t the most important thing they needed to know about before March of this year. Our first approach was to give free access to our virtual terminal and to let our merchants know it was there and what it could do. It accepts remote transactions.

We have a large merchant that was really all card-present transactions. It needed to all of a sudden stand up a call center, take and accept payments from customers and ship product. Giving them access to the virtual terminal enabled them to do that. Luckily, we had products at the ready — it was more about making sure our customers knew how to use them.

Product roadmap

Our immediate response was to look at this in stages. The first stage was relief — not building or imagining or creating, but getting our tools out to our customers quickly. Then, there would be a recovery phase where we could build and repurpose things. The last phase was rebuilding, where we could reimagine our roadmaps. We had to see COVID’s impact and how it changes things. We’re still working through these three stages.

We partnered with CardFlight to put offers out for mobile SwipeSimple devices for curbside and mobile use cases. Our customers could pick these kind of devices up quickly. We also worked out gift card solutions for both in-store and online so customers could keep transactign through that channel. We have a partnership with ReviewTrackers where they stood up a quick solution so businesses could, in one place, update their business hours and payment acceptance listings in Google Maps and Apple Maps. In the early days, I remember going to the bank. Google said it was open, but it wasn’t.

New products

On the banking side, we had a product called the Real Time Lending Platform for banks. Very quickly, we added some functionality to help with the PPP program. So, we were indirectly able to help thousands of small businesses as banks leveraged our platform to serve SMB PPP loans. It was very impressive to see a company of this size pivot so quickly and get a product out that our banks could use. From community banks to larger banks we served, there were changing protocols intra-daily.

Our banking solutions team quickly took in the requirements and connected into the SBA APIs. Our sales team took that quickly to our banking clients. The magic was our very quick integration window. We couldn’t do a three month integration — it had to be days to integrate into this platform to make use of it.

For merchant solutions, we’re adding enhancements to Virtual Terminal, allowing more ways to accept remote payments. We are making great strides around offering online use cases for EBT.

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