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Executive Interview: Casey Klyszeiko, Head of Carat and Global eCommerce at Fiserv

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The Executive Interview Series provides readers with exclusive insights from movers and shakers in the payments industry. The payments industry is under continuous transformation. This series offers diverse perspectives on everything from strategy to payments technology and the industry’s future. 

In this interview, TSG marketing team member Rachel Hartley spoke with Casey Klyszeiko, Head of Carat and Global eCommerce at Fiserv, to discuss the future of omnichannel commerce. 

Casey Klyszeiko is the Head of Carat and Global eCommerce at Fiserv. Carat is Fiserv’s global omnichannel commerce operating system that enables Enterprise merchants to create new customer experiences and drive more commerce. In this role, Klyszeiko is responsible for developing the strategy and delivering solutions to leading brands across payments, money movement, VAS, and embedded finance. Prior to this role, Klyszeiko led corporate strategy and investments as the SVP of Strategic Growth and Ventures at Fiserv.  

Q: Rachel H.

Tell us about your payments journey. What motivated your transition from Visa and American Express, two prominent card networks, to your current role at Fiserv, a global fintech company?  

A: Casey K.

I’ve been extremely fortunate to work for some of the most recognized global brands in our industry, with my time at the card networks allowing me to learn and grow under amazing payments industry leadership. Working at Visa and American Express also gave me a tremendous introduction to Fiserv. The company’s influential position supporting large merchants, small businesses, issuers, banks, and other stakeholders across the financial ecosystem. 

The definition of “fintech” has changed over the years as the concept has evolved. It includes companies offering technology designed to disrupt financial services and its incumbent leaders. Still, there will always be an appreciation for fintechs like Fiserv that couple innovation with stability, profitability, and scale to bring modern solutions to market. Fiserv really is the original fintech. A leader for nearly 40 years, our longstanding success is underpinned by the concept of disrupting on behalf of our industry’s longstanding participants. 

In addition, Fiserv sits at the intersection of commerce and money movement with market-leading assets across the ecosystem of financial institutions and businesses. The scale and impact of Fiserv on the way money and information moves throughout the world is unparalleled.  

The strength of the people at Fiserv was also a key motivation to join the company. From the executive leadership team’s experience and vision to more than 40,000 associates working collaboratively globally to solve the most pressing needs of our clients, Fiserv is a special place to work. 

Q: Rachel H.

Carat is a product of Fiserv, a major player in the financial technology industry. Provide an overview of Carat’s role in the payments and eCommerce ecosystem.   

A: Casey K.

Carat is the global omnicommerce platform from Fiserv that enables the world’s leading brands to accept payments, deliver unique and engaging customer experiences, and optimize operations with data from payments and other areas. 

For consumers, that means maximizing payment choice – from cards to mobile wallets to EBT and beyond. It means enabling brands to meet their customers where they want to transact – within their merchant app, online, in-store, and everywhere in between. And it means enabling experiences that seamlessly connect digital and physical commerce into a unified journey. 

For our clients, it also means optimizing every transaction to increase authorizations, having a resilient focus on fraud mitigation, and building solutions that allow clients to operate more efficiently. Our Carat team focuses on helping our clients convert payments from a cost lever to a revenue driver with solutions like payment facilitation and embedded finance. 

We consider Carat an extension of our client’s business – a platform they can leverage to grow their business now and in the long run. 

Q: Rachel H.

Earlier this year, Carat introduced first-to-market capabilities. Could you share some insights into these capabilities and how they benefit enterprises in today’s market?    

A: Casey K.

One new capability that delivered a big splash and has generated continued discussion with some of our largest clients is our omnichannel wallet service. This allows our clients to configure their merchant-branded app or online experience to act as a single stored value ledger of their loyalty programs – including gift cards, merchant or brand-funded product rebates, lifestyle and wellness incentives, and more. The omnichannel wallet can also serve as a central hub for brands to embed financial services. Services that deliver value to their customers. 

Another focus of ours has been alternative forms of payment that can lower the cost of acceptance for our clients. One capability is our pay-by-bank solution. Which facilitates seamless account-to-account transactions built on the strength of our check and ACH acceptance capabilities. With continued consumer adoption of open banking and the rollout of real-time payments in the U.S., we expect merchant interest and adoption of the payment method will continue to grow. 

Q: Rachel H.

Can you share some insights into the strategic initiatives and priorities you’ve been driving in your role at Fiserv to stay competitive and innovative? 

A: Casey K.

Our Carat team has spent 2023 focused on two core concepts:   

  • Operational excellence: This includes maximizing the experience for our clients with tools that make integration more accessible. Providing direct control of payment optimization and fraud mitigation capabilities based on real-time data and instantly enabled. Underpinning all that we do is a hyper-focus on ensuring the resiliency expected by the world’s largest businesses, many of which are our clients. 
  • Innovation: The capabilities Fiserv provides to some of the world’s largest financial institutions is one of the biggest strengths of our company. Our Carat team is making these market-leading assets easier for our clients to consume. Enabling businesses to embed financial services into their ecosystems to create deeper customer relationships and new revenue streams. Combining payments and financial services via the best platform will help our clients move into new markets and attract and retain new customers. 
Q: Rachel H.

How does Carat leverage data and analytics to help enterprises make informed decisions and enhance their operations?  

A: Casey K.

If customer experiences are the currency of commerce, data is the lifeblood. Data and analytics play a crucial role in providing merchants with the information they need to streamline operations, secure commerce, and capitalize on growth opportunities. This empowers merchants to be more agile and responsive in a competitive business environment.  

Through data, our customers are looking for insights into business trends. Customer behavior that they can leverage quickly to maximize opportunities and mitigate threats. We’re working to provide the data and the insight together with controls to take immediate action.  

We also allow our clients to consume their data in real time. Our data-as-a-service capability provides access to critical intelligence combined with internal and third-party data sources. This helps to facilitate informed decisions to optimize commerce and deliver differentiating customer experiences. 

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Q: Rachel H.

Can you share some feedback received from the developer community regarding Carat’s Commerce Hub and its integration within the payment’s ecosystem?   

A: Casey K.

The speed at which a business can bring new capabilities to market can be a significant revenue driver. As such, we are focused on supporting developers. Investing in tools that reduce the time it takes to build, validate, and deploy code quickly.  

Within our ecosystem, we have translators who help our clients utilize their existing code and explorer APIs. Also documentation to enable self-help for developers using a sandbox environment. The feedback has been extremely positive. Including when a national home improvement retailer was able to integrate their store network to Carat in just 24 hours. In testing, using the explorer APIs and documentation available in our developer studio drove up to a 70% reduction in development time. 

Q: Rachel H.

What key trends do you see shaping the future of omnichannel commerce, and how is Carat positioning itself to address these trends?  

A: Casey K.

One potential evolution of omnichannel experiences will involve merchants taking more control of the consumer journey. Doing this by creating or extending their own wallets. Our recent consumer research study, Carat Insights, highlighted consumer preference for merchant apps. Indicating the opportunity to create a more compelling wallet experience that can be used online or in-store.  

In addition, we are also seeing a “platform-ication” of businesses that reinforces the concept of moving payments away from being a cost center to being a revenue driver. Just think of traditional retailers that recognize they can monetize payments for in-store pop-ups. Where a consumer gets one checkout experience, and funds are settled to both the retailer and the pop-up shop. Or software vendors that can embed payments into their platform offerings. Creating a revenue stream that grows as their customers do.

Q: Rachel H.

For businesses looking to optimize their eCommerce services and leverage innovative solutions, what advice or best practices would you offer based on your experience at Carat?  

A: Casey K.
  • Develop a strategy that goes beyond just the transaction. It’s critical to start with the customer experience and work backward.   
  • Data is critical. Combining internal and third-party datasets in real time can give a business a clear understanding of customer needs. Along with buying behaviors and then act on that information. 
  • Modular solutions allow businesses to leverage data and move quickly to stay ahead of customer needs and competitive threats. 
  • Do not innovate for innovation’s sake. Each decision should be made with a clear understanding of the impact on the customer’s buying experience. It should be done with alignment across the company. 
  • Find a partner that can work with you. A partner with whom you can build solutions to enable the future of your business. Very few things in our space can be done by just one party.