Matthew Thomason, BillGO's SVP for Card Solutions, oversees the company's card-related products and services. He also manages BillGO's collaborative relationships with top-tier card issuers and card brands.
But lately, Thomason has been applying his scalpel-like focus to the launch of the newest capability in the BillGO bill management and payments platform: Intelligent Card Management.
We sat down with Thomason to discuss BillGO’s Intelligent Card Management capability, why it promises to be a game-changer for card issuers, billers and consumers and what it can do for those institutions and businesses seeking top-of-wallet functionality.
Let’s start by getting your take on the concept of “top of wallet” ...
When we meet with the decision makers at financial institutions (FIs) and fintechs, top of wallet is what is on their minds.
To fully appreciate the concept, you have to remember that - back in the day - when most people opened a bank account, they were issued one debit card or one credit card and that is the only card most consumers used.
That was then.
Now, we’ve seen a rewards culture unfold where every fintech, every merchant, every hotel chain, every retailer, every gas station, every restaurant issues a card.
In this environment, top of the wallet has become a competitive space for all of these different stakeholders. They all want their card to be the first card a customer reaches for when making a purchase.
Obviously, that includes FIs ...
It’s not just FIs; it's also neobanks, fintechs, billers - they all want the top slot, because when a customer uses an institution’s card, it strengthens the relationship.
But top-of-wallet functionality is just as important to consumers. Seven out of 10 Americans have at least one credit card, and the average American has two or three. If you’re a savvy consumer, you want to use the card that delivers the most value for you.
And let’s not forget another aspect of the old days: the “George Costanza wallet.” Seinfeld fans will remember that one. It wasn’t that long ago Americans struggled with wallets that were two inches thick because of all the cards they carried around.
So, the “George Costanza wallet” is officially dead?
Well, it should be thanks to smartphones. Cards can be entirely virtual now, meaning consumers no longer need overstuffed wallets. Consumers embraced digital cards almost as soon as they became available. In 2019, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta determined mobile banking, digital wallets and online shopping were already accounting for about 50 percent of all purchases.
But, now - three years later - things have almost gone in the other direction: there are so many digital purchase options available, many consumers are almost overwhelmed by the number of choices they have.
As a result, consumers are looking for their own preferred top of the wallet card - the one they reach for to make it easier for them to manage their card-not-present purchases.
So, where does BillGO’s “Intelligent Card Management” fit into this discussion?
BillGO is expanding its platform capabilities and Intelligent Card Management - or ICM - is how we’re helping the FIs and fintechs we work with better serve their customers.
The biggest top-of-wallet challenge every institution faces is they have no control over how and when their customers use the cards they issued. The FIs and fintechs can send out marketing blasts, offer reward campaigns, introduce new features and functionalities for the card account - all in hopes the customers use it more, but that is about all they can do.
ICM gives the FIs and fintechs more power by introducing “in-app provisioning” to the issuer’s app for subscriptions, billers and ecommerce merchants. This helps move a bank- or fintech-issued card to the coveted top-of-wallet slot. This, in turn, helps further strengthen the relationship institutions have with their customers while adding a ton of value to everyone in the ecosystem.
Best of all, those FIs and fintechs that are tied to legacy bill pay technology can still get started using ICM right away to support their forward-looking business objectives and speed-to-market. There is no need to immediately adopt the entire BillGO platform.
Does ICM benefit consumers?
Yes. It really gives consumers more control. ICM empowers them to better manage how they pay their bills and their subscriptions, and decide which cards will be used to pay which bills.
Last year, partially due to COVID, online spending increased 44 percent over the previous year. That means - for a typical consumer - their credit card numbers are suddenly everywhere: autopay biller databases, subscription service databases, eCommerce wallets, etc.
As a result, some consumers are feeling a lot of pain right now as they try to manage all of their card activity - and the increased risk that goes with having card numbers everywhere.
ICM helps mitigate this risk because it has the ability to leverage tokenization, which enhances security and convenience by creating merchant-specific card numbers.
With ICM, none of the merchants a consumer interacts with will ever see the actual credit card. This means the cardholder can easily reset a card if the merchant experiences a data breach. It also means cardholders can effortlessly update expired cards connected to subscription services without a break in service.
With ICM, whether you’re shopping at the grocery store for delivery, an online retailer, paying a utility bill or a Netflix subscription or buying coffee at Starbucks, you have more choice and greater peace of mind.
How receptive are financial institutions to ICM?
This is something financial institutions have been clamoring for for years. This is why FIs began offering their customers bill pay technology years ago: they know it helps build long-term customer relationships. Top of wallet is on the top of mind for all FIs.
Want to know more about BillGO’s Intelligent Card Management? Contact us.