Colleen Taylor focuses a lot of her attention on the "boring" back-end infrastructure behind the many "sexy" new payment applications.

The digitization of payments excites many stakeholders in the financial services industry, but that trend brings with it a substantial amount of work to keep it secure.

"Looking back on 2014, it's clear that accountability, policies and controls have never been more critical to protecting our clients and their data assets," said Taylor, executive vice president and head of treasury management and enterprise payments at Capital One Bank.

And arming bank employees is key to keeping the system secure. The payments enterprise team at Capital One, which Taylor leads, is in charge of educating associates on the future of payments.

The bank introduced the Payments Primer last year as a training program to lift the "payments IQ" of the Capital One team, said Taylor. The bank also launched innovateTM, an employee competition that brings the "perfect blend of payments expertise and their own consumer banking preferences to help solve client pain points," she said. Fifteen new projects are underway because of the competition.

Taylor has been in the payments industry for nearly 25 years and has previously been recognized as one of PaymentsSource'sMost Influential Women in Payments and American Banker Magazine's25 Women to Watch.

Cashless transactions will significantly disrupt the payments industry, Taylor said.

"Almost all technologies required to activate cashless payments exist today–cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, for example," said Taylor. "While these types of currencies won't take off in their current form, a government-backed currency could leverage the same technology to move toward cashless society."

The biggest initiative Taylor is personally working on is fostering diversity, not only in banking but on the whole. Taylor is the Capital One's market president for Brooklyn and Queens, New York. In this role, she pushes the bank's associates to get involved in the communities.

This year, Taylor supported dozens of high school seniors in both boroughs in the national college march, where students parade to local post offices and mail trucks to send in their college applications while family, classmates, teachers, local business owners and Capital One associates cheer them on.

"It was truly inspiring to be a part of these students' first step to secondary education and onward to a bright future," Taylor said. "What may seem a simple next step for some students was a huge leap for these kids. Applying for college and actually submitting that application with hope took bravery in some cases."

This community encouragement fits well with Taylor's outlook on the career opportunities for women in payments.

"Instead of focusing on barriers that stand in the path of a rising star, I want to concentrate on steps that women can take to propel themselves to the next rung in their payments career," she said.

Keeping abreast of new technology and industry trends is vital in the in fast-changing payments market. One way to do this is to be a mentor to a startup payments company, Taylor said. "It's a great way to be exposed to innovative, disruptive technologies and have access to phenomenal incubator environments."

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