For the last year, change has become the only consistent norm in the environment, and many firms in the payments and commerce business found themselves doing very different things at the start of 2021 than they had ever considered doing in the past.
But the change that came for the team at artificial intelligence (AI)-based fraud prevention firm Kount was big, even by recent standards, as the firm announced it was to be acquired by consumer credit reporting giant Equifax in a $640 million deal that closed in February.
It was big news, Kount Senior Vice President and General Manager Brad Wiskirchen told Karen Webster, but it did not necessarily bring big changes. Kount is still based in Boise and still pursuing the same roadmap it was pre-acquisition. The biggest change to Kount is the massive influx of data it now has to work with and build from, and how many more opportunities approaching the market as a segment of Equifax opens up for the company.
As Wiskirchen told Webster, the acquisition basically expands Kount’s global footprint into the digital identity space, which is so critical given the rise of the digital-first economy. As the pandemic drove customer interactions to the digital environment, financial institutions (FIs) had insightful information on the basics of the physical world: mortgage, car and income.
“Kount has the complete picture of the customer in the digital environment,” he said. “Combine those two things, and it’s like peanut butter and chocolate — you put them together and you’ve got the perfect combination.”
It’s a combination that will open up doors to building eCommerce experiences that are safer, more friction-free and better designed to point consumers in the direction of relevant offers and recommendations for their digital journeys, he said. Fighting fraud is a guiding principle for Kount and always will be. But the purview and scope of its mission has grown quite a bit wider. Now Kount will be finding ways to bring the underserved consumer into the mainstream financial system and to help merchants understand consumer interests and behaviors so they can build more relevant offers.