Brad Wiskirchen, CEO of Kount, dives into the pandemic’s effect on payments, eCommerce and fraud prevention, and the importance of businesses to address account protection by early 2021. “As new digital interactions between our customers and partners and their end consumers develop, establishing identity trust will be essential for preventing and responding to new threats,” says Wiskirchen in “A Look Forward: What Executives Wish for America and the World in 2021.”

First and foremost, my wish for 2021 is good health and recovery for the people — the doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, first responders, small business owners, teachers, students, citizens and so many more — affected most by the coronavirus pandemic. When I think about how the events of 2020 have affected payments, eCommerce and fraud prevention, I think about how quickly things changed. Some industries saw dramatic changes in transaction volumes, in either direction, overnight. Others adopted eCommerce models for the first time and were caught off-guard by the deluge of risk and fraud that accompanied it.

Any business that engaged in eCommerce, especially in 2020, experienced the pressures and impact of fraud throughout the customer journey. As a result, consumers and business owners paid more attention to digital interactions than ever. Without a doubt, the coronavirus accelerated the adoption of digital interactions by three to five years, depending on which experts you listen to.

So, with my wish for health and recovery also comes a wish for a digital transformation that’s free from fraud. As early as spring 2021, I anticipate consumers will begin to re-engage with companies in industries that primarily operate in the digital space that were heavily affected by the coronavirus: travel, entertainment, ticketing and events. This activity will grow as people become more confident in their ability to re-engage in life as they knew it due to the availability of coronavirus vaccines. As the post-coronavirus era emerges, the overall economy could bounce back quickly, just as the digital economy grew unexpectedly quickly in 2020. There will be tailwinds for the historically strong players in the verticals that were most damaged. And there will be a stronger digital economy for brick-and-mortar businesses.

However, it’s important to acknowledge that there could be a drag on the economy for restaurants and those who have engaged in face-to-face business. It’s likely that we’ll come out of the fog of COVID to find many that businesses we frequented prior to COVID are gone. For the businesses that remain, evolving and maintaining digital strategies will be a competitive advantage. eCommerce companies will need to think about the entire customer journey and how to establish identity trust at any point, even more so than in previous years. In particular, customer accounts will be vulnerable, as businesses encounter a greater number of account takeover attacks.

Any business engaged in digital commerce or digital interactions with their customers would be remiss to not address account protection by early 2021. At Kount, the center of our 2021 preparations is our mission to do whatever it takes to protect our partners and customers from digital fraud. Part of that is helping our partners and customers understand that it’s time to flip the script from fraud prevention to establishing identity trust with actionable insights and advanced data. As new digital interactions between our customers and partners and their end consumers develop, establishing identity trust will be essential for preventing and responding to new threats. We will work with our partners, customers and the industry to elevate fraud prevention throughout the customer journey, so businesses can stay ahead of the evolving eCommerce trends.

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