In the past, payments executives rarely had to tackle regulatory, technological and customer-education challenges simultaneously. Generally, different executives addressed those tasks at different times.

Diane Offereins' role as executive vice president and president of payment services for Discover Financial Services has thrust her into a new dynamic.

Offereins, who has held this role for the past nine years, sees all of these critical topics come together as her company strives to maintain its highly-rated customer service practices as consumers will undergo significant change at the point of sale with EMV-chip cards.

"Numerous security breaches have accelerated the timeline to implement EMV and are bringing complementary technologies with them," Offereins said.

For the third year, Offereins has earned recognition from PaymentsSource as one of the industry's Most Influential Women in Payments.

Discover's work with EMVCo, which recently announced the next generation of the online authentication protocol in 3DSecure, is another example of the company's commitment to supporting emerging innovation, Offereins said.

The single biggest challenge facing the industry in the next year will be "harnessing the promise of mobile," Offereins added.

"The emphasis currently on mobile technology is around security and how it changes the in-store, and now, online, shopping experience," Offereins said. "It is impacting everything from how a card member finds the best price to how they are paying for the purchase at the point of sale."

The evolution of mobile and e-commerce continues to be "a playground" for innovators focusing on smartphones, digital wallets and wearable technology, she added.

Because she has been in the payments industry for 35 years, Offereins has seen how the definition of a payments company has transformed in that time.

Payment companies are no longer solely focused on running transactions on their networks, she said. "They are also smarter and have more sophisticated technology that allows them to leverage data-focused services to offer targeted promotions."

An example of such a platform enabled by data is Discover Deals, which provides offers that consumers can redeem both online and in-store. 

In 2014, Offereins was the executive sponsor of the Professional Women Impacting Results group at Discover. She encourages all companies to create similar groups.

Women will continue to advance if companies create a work environment that "fosters diversity, inclusion and flexibility," she said.

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