Verifier is an innovative new platform that aims to disrupt the lending and credit industries by offering consumers a simpler, more efficient and secure way to verify their income online. It has already been adopted by most of the major lenders in Australia and is soon to launch overseas. We talk to Verifier’s founder, Lisa Schutz about her vision for Verifier and the importance of protecting consumer data.
Lisa has an extensive background in turning data into strategic insights for organisations and is an evangelist for the protection of consumer data. In 2014 she realised there was a better way for consumers of lending and credit products to verify their income online that offered greater security and a better customer experience.
“These days we expect things to happen ‘now’, particularly when we are accessing goods and services via the Internet. With online loan and credit applications, consumers expect that they will need to verify their income but they don’t want it to be a time consuming process that places their personal data at risk”.
“Verifier fixes a very fundamental problem with today’s online lending applications. These digital applications initially appear very user-friendly and easy to use, but as soon as the consumer needs to verify their income they are dropped out of the online world and into a world where they need to take pay slips to a bank branch or send copies in for back-office processing.”
As well as having a negative impact on the customer experience it adds costs to the lender.
Verifier streamlines loan applications by allowing consumers to share their data between organisations securely and safely. By providing online access to their superannuation and payroll data, Verifier dramatically speeds up the process in a way that offers greater privacy and protection for the consumer while generating significant cost savings for the lender.
Living in a digital world
In establishing Verifier Lisa gathered a team of some of the brightest people in Australia to build her vision. Her team is a virtual team, with team members based in Melbourne, Tasmania and Canberra. On one hand, this allowed Lisa to access the most appropriate skills and talent available, while, on the other it allows her colleagues to better balance the demands of work and life.
“We still meet up about once a month here in Melbourne, but the flexibility of operating virtually really suits our vision and business model. It helps us to operative fully with a digital and innovative mindset. We don’t work to a clock. We work around the expectations of our clients and their customers, so at all times we need to be nimble and flexible with our approach”.
Lisa surmises, “I don’t believe being stuck in an office, working the straight 9 – 5 helps in being creative and innovative. We all need to work. But we also all want to enjoy life.”
The challenges faced
Like almost all startups that become successful, that success does not happen overnight. It takes years of hard work and commitment to a vision, while operating on a very lean budget. It means plenty of knock backs.
Lisa and her team have proven extremely resilient to the challenges they faced. “Yes, I remember spending hours making phone calls, attending meetings and putting together proposals and submissions. At the start it can be daunting where few people seem interested in your value proposition. You need to be persistent and focused on what you are trying to achieve”.
Consumer Data and Privacy
If there’s one thing Lisa is very focused on and passionate about is data and the protection of consumer data and privacy. “Core to Verifier’s philosophy is the principle of giving customers control of their data and how that data is used. Before verifier the only options were back office processing or for the lender to request the customer’s username and password to their banking portal”
“A lot of customers are uncomfortable with that and with good reason. It poses significant risks to their data and the potential for fraud and their data to be misused. It also exposes the lender to various compliance and regulatory risks. Verifier keeps the customer in control of their data while at the same ensuring the lender meets their regulatory and ethical lending requirements.”