Martina King, Featurespace

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The wave of payments fraud that's sweeping the globe shows no signs of abating, leaving anxious businesses in search of something that can keep up with the crooks.

Martina King has an answer in an artificial intelligence-driven platform that has attracted TSYS as a partner and drawn the interest of some of the world's largest banks, payment processors, merchant acquirers, insurance companies and gaming organizations.

"Our technology really started in academia, then moved to product trial and is now recognized as the best methodology to have in your risk management arsenal," said King, CEO of Featurespace and one of PaymentsSource's Most Influential Women in Payments for 2018. "This happened in under five years, which is super-fast."

Featurespace's ARIC platform uses cutting-edge detection technology designed at Cambridge University to bring speed to fraud detection as the traditional method of behavioral analytics loses its effectiveness. ARIC monitors consumer data in real time, spotting anomalies that can be a sign of a fraudulent payment or a stolen identity being misused.

Speed is of the essence as attackers move quickly to new ways to compromise sensitive data and transactions. As payment processing becomes faster, there's added pressure to manage risk in a more dynamic environment.

Machine learning is designed to constantly improve as it gathers data, and it's become popular at banks and merchants, putting King in the spotlight. A failure to halt the spread of payment fraud can cast a pall on mobile commerce and other new channels such as wearables and contextual commerce.

"There are far scarier things in life than fintech, but it is undoubtedly fascinating," King said. "The juxtaposition of the need for security and safety of the companies we serve, mixed with the requirement to be open-minded and receptive to change, makes the customers we work with very motivating."

There's little time for old-school thinking in such a challenging environment, yet it still exists in the financial technology industry, which suffers from a global gender gap as most top positions at fintech companies and investment firms are occupied by men.

"Gender bias is definitely not something new and, sadly, not something that has come and gone," King said. "I don’t believe that men actively campaign to keep women down; my experience is that, like many organizations, some men are hesitant to embrace and effect change."

King has found inspiration in Caroline Marland, the former managing director of The Guardian. "She was the first female managing director of a British national newspaper. She crashed through every glass ceiling placed above her. The rest of us just followed," King said.

Women must continue to show that organizations are stronger with them, to realize that a career now spans decades and encompasses lifestyle changes, and that true equality starts at home and not just with women in the workplace, King said. "When I give advice to my colleagues, it is always know your numbers, know your facts. Make sure that your work is benchmarked. Never expect anyone to sweep you off your career feet — know your worth and show the world."

READ MORE: The Most Influential Women in Payments, 2018

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Artificial intelligence Fraud detection U.K. Women in Payments