“Fraud is often asymmetrical in attack patterns, creating a multi-dimensional playing field that is constantly evolving”: Tom Byrnes, CMO of Vesta Corporation

PaymentEye’s exclusive interview with Tom Byrnes, CMO of Vesta Corporation

Tom Byrnes is CMO of Vesta Corporation and leads Vesta’s global marketing, communications, and strategic business development operations. With more than 25 years of experience in business development and developing integrated B2B branding systems, loyalty programs, digital retail and social platforms, Tom has a wealth of experience in driving sales and revenue.

How did you get started in the industry and what does your role at Vesta entail?

I first came to Vesta in the late 1990s and immersed myself in the payments business at a time when the industry was becoming more digitized by the day. Since then, I’ve helped shape marketing and business strategies for payments solutions providers around the industry.

I returned to the Vesta team in 2015 as CMO. I currently lead the company’s global marketing and communications: branding, product positioning, competitive analysis and differentiation, digital and social media strategies, partnership marketing, thought leadership, market research, and media/public relations efforts! I also direct Vesta’s global e-commerce sales operations and am responsible for strategic business development.

How does Vesta stand out in the market, and what are the core business strategies?

Vesta is the only company to offer an integrated payments/risk solution that fully guarantees accepted transactions, eliminating fraud and chargebacks for merchants. Today, the business leverages these core capabilities to deliver the industry’s only scalable suite of guaranteed payment solutions. Over the past 20+ years, our patented fraud technologies have proven to increase conversion and acceptance rates while eliminating fraudulent transactions. We support both the world’s largest telecommunications firms and a growing number of e-commerce merchants.

We aim to be a “one-stop-shop” for our clients’ payments and risk management needs. As payment threats increase in sophistication, complexity, and frequency, it can be difficult for in-house fraud departments to keep up. These are often siloed payments, fraud and risk teams that are required to work together to combat payments fraud, but every operational gap between departments creates another opportunity for fraudsters to breach their defenses. Our comprehensive approach reduces costs while alleviating both payment processing and fraud-fighting headaches, helping retailers and enterprise clients preserve revenue and focus on growing their business.

How should businesses in risk and compliance stay ahead of innovation?

The key challenge here is that fraud is dynamic, never static, and often asymmetrical in attack patterns, creating a multi-dimensional playing field that is constantly evolving. For Vesta, the key to staying ahead of innovation in risk and compliance is to understand the industries we are serving and to pay attention to the fraud dynamics threatening both these industries and the broader patterns of cross-industry attacks. In addition to maintaining the largest proprietary database of online customers available today, we leverage our global consortium of data via machine learning and other forms of artificial intelligence to analyze, predict and protect against fraudulent behaviors.

How does Vesta’s design infrastructure leverage real-time fraud protection, and how important is this?

As the type of goods purchased online has extended into the digital realm, it has become more important than ever to provide real-time fraud protection. Consumers are now purchasing more digital goods than ever before—things like e-books, gift cards and event tickets—that require instant decisioning and delivery. Our proprietary modeling and detection technologies leverage our consortium database by utilizing rich historical data and signature patterns of one half-million fraudulent networks. Our teams of data scientists research and monitor ongoing fraud patterns, consumer behaviors, market dynamics and client needs to develop the most robust solutions available today.

Are there new technologies and/or innovations that you’re closely monitoring?    

We keep a close eye on machine learning and predictive analysis technologies, which is at the core of our fraud mitigation platform. These technologies continue to evolve and rapidly change and Vesta needs to continue to leverage them to maintain a competitive advantage.

Are you looking at PSD2 closely? If so, what are the main challenges you notice?

We’re monitoring PSD2 in the regions where it is applicable, but we wouldn’t classify these regulations as challenges. Rather, we view them as an important evolution of PSD. These changes enhance consumer protections related to payment fraud, cyber-security and competitive choice and level the playing field for everyone. Unlike changes in the PCI compliance standards, PSD2 is not self-regulated—it’s law and overseen by government agencies.

Finally, what do you believe will be the main trends of 2017?

The trends that we are following surround the continued shift of fraud to e-commerce as a result of the EMV migration in the US. Simultaneously, strong growth in online ordering increases the need to refine real-time risk deciding technology to a broader audience—beyond  digital goods providers. I would also predict double digit growth in retail online spending from 2016 in the holiday shopping season and a continued fall from grace for big box retailers and the brick and mortar presence.

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