Continuing our “Five questions on FinTech” series, I sat down with Pratyush Tiwari, Co-founder and Chief Analytics Officer at MoneyLion, to get his insights on the state of FinTech, and how his company has been able to capitalize on industry and consumer trends to achieve success.
Q: What are the key factors affecting the FinTech industry today?
Pratyush: In our opinion, we’re in the second inning of the FinTech revolution. In the first inning, there was a lot more focus on finance and technology seemed almost secondary. Innovations were around business models and the cost side of things, rather than adding more value to the customer and increasing the customer base. We see FinTech 2.0 as TechFin — with more focus on technological innovations. There are a lot of interesting things coming out now on the artificial intelligence front, and that’s going to accelerate over time.
Q: What role does the customer experience play in your brand strategy or overall strategy?
Pratyush: Sometimes as certain services mature lenders take their foot off the gas. They stop thinking about consumers and start thinking more from a product or transaction perspective — I give you X, you give me Y. Once that starts happening, the customer begins feeling the distance between them and the financial institution. For us, the customer experience is everything. It’s the primary tenant of not just our brand strategy but our mission. When you think about customer experience, it’s not just about offering the customer a particular product at a particular point of time. It’s about offering the right product at the right price at the right time. To do that, you need to have a continuous relationship with that customer — built on trust. Customers trust you if they know you have their benefit in mind. So you have to be transparent and provide continuous value over a long period of time. That builds trust and customers stay with you, making the relationship mutually beneficial.
Q: How has trended credit data enabled you to better understand consumers or conduct more robust predictive modeling?
Pratyush: Trended data is extremely important in understanding the customer. Before trended data was available, you’d only look at a customer's credit at one point in time. That’s not exactly accurate because the customer might have great credit but due to an unforeseen event, their credit goes down. If you're evaluating the customer just on the basis of an unforeseen event, that’s detrimental because the customer might genuinely be an excellent customer. So, trended data helps us dive deeper into the customer and see insights we wouldn’t get just by looking at a point-in-time snapshot. Life isn’t just one point of time, you’re a sum of all your experiences. The same goes for understanding customer behavior — it has to be the sum of all past behaviors.
Q: What makes offering consumers the ability to see their credit scores so beneficial?
Pratyush: We offer enhanced credit monitoring because credit is a big part of a customer's finances. Even when a customer isn’t actively looking for credit, they want to know it’s available if they need it. For us, credit monitoring does two things. The first is it allows us to engage with customers on something important to them. The second is we can dig deep into what changes or enhancements the customer needs to better their credit score. In many ways, the credit score is a reflection of a customer's lifestyle; it can increase or decrease with life events and changes. There’s a very strong correlation there and we tap into that. When you think about building credibility with a customer, it’s not just about reporting a credit score, it’s about helping them proactively manage their credit score.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about TransUnion in particular?
Pratyush: TransUnion has been a great partner for us since we started and we're very happy with our relationship. TransUnion has always been transparent and proactive. I know when a FinTech company starts, it's not a big company; it doesn't have millions of users. TransUnion became our strategic partner right from the beginning and has helped us grow to millions and millions of customers.