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In the payments world, 2017 was a year of reckoning. It was a year of revelation. And it was a year of reimagining. So as we prepare to bid farewell to 2017, here’s a look back on a few of the year’s biggest payments stories – and some expert predictions about what 2018 could bring. 6. Booming voice. Voice technology had many credit unions dialing in during 2017 to fight account takeovers and call center fraud. “Phoneprinting,” which listens in on calls and helps decide whether they may be fraudulent, became a thing. Enrichment Federal Credit Union became the first credit union to let members move money, make payments and get account information using voice commands via Amazon’s Alexa system. Enrichment, which is based in Oak Ridge, Tenn., has $456 million in assets and about 42,000 members. 5. Blockchain gang. This technology, most often associated with Bitcoin, took huge steps into the credit union mainstream during 2017. Research organization CU Ledger debuted prototype blockchain-like technology that could help verify identities and clamp down on fraud at credit union call centers. NAFCU became the first U.S. financial trade association to join Hyperledger – an open-source blockchain effort aimed at streamlining settlement processes, improving liquidity and adding transparency. 4. Futuristic ATMs. Diebold Nixdorf and Samsung SDS America revealed technology that could soon allow credit union members to get money out of an ATM using only their faces. Utah-based Prosperity Investments, which owns Joyful ATM, partnered with Provision Interactive Technologies to put 3-D holographic displays into as many as 48,000 ATMs throughout the United States and 68 other countries. Diebold also unveiled a prototype point-of-sale terminal that does away with mag-stripe readers and is fewer than 10 inches wide. 3. Getting real (time). Person-to-person and real-time payments grappled with the future. In the fall, data showed only about 12% of financial institutions with mobile apps offered P2P payments in their apps, and just 1.2% of active users actually made P2P payments. But the technology marched on nonetheless. Zelle launched. Same-day ACH rolled out. And Apple Pay Cash happened, going head-to-head with Zelle, Venmo, Dwolla, Square and other players in the mushrooming fintech world. Square and Varo Money made even more waves by applying for bank charters. 2. Mobile domination. The fintech world focused heavily on the smartphone, and a variety of mobile wallet options and “pays” kept growing, though Apple remained a frontrunner. Juniper Research predicted that the number of Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay users would top 150 million by the end of 2017. Mobile’s recognition as a powerful driver of interchange, which is now bigger than overdraft revenue, became unavoidable. 1. Fraud fury. It was on everybody’s mind all year, and for good reason: There was a huge increase in data breaches in 2017, possibly a record year, and experts predicted that card-not-present fraud alone will cost merchants $71 billion over the next five years. Shimmers started appearing at credit union ATMs, and members became wary of banking apps that don’t have biometric authentication. Even loyalty reward programs weren’t safe. And then, of course, there was Equifax.
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