BECU Expert Q & A with Liz Wagner - Senior Digital Strategy Manager

Community Manager

As part of our new monthly series where we interview experts here at BECU, we sat down for a conversation with Liz Wagner, a senior digital strategy manager here at BECU to learn more about what we accomplished in 2018 and what’s on the horizon for 2019.



What Do You Do Here at BECU?

My name is Liz Wagner. I'm the product manager for BECU's mobile app, as well as our Money Manager budgeting tool and notifications features. I work with our internal stakeholders here at BECU across all the different parts of our organization, as well as our members, to collect feedback and input on what we build in the mobile app.

What Were Some of the Highlights For You In 2018?

We got a lot done in 2018.   Much of this, members won't necessarily see because it was on the back end. We made improvements in the way our systems work to make them more efficient, modernize them, etc. We did some things like that around bill pay, for example, and mobile deposit, as well. 


We did some really important work this year around accessibility. We've done some work in the app to make it so that our members who are blind or vision-impaired can use screen readers with the mobile app. There is audio guidance that you can hear that helps you check your balance, hear a list of recent transactions, make a transfer or deposit a check.


Virtual Assistant

At the end of December, we launched a new feature in the messenger tool inside the app called a virtual assistant. After hours when the contact center is closed, depending on what question you send to us, the virtual assistant might pop up and if you ask specific questions, such as, "What is my routing number?" It will answer that for you right away. It knows a handful of answers to a handful of questions. And then if it doesn't know the answer, then it says “We are closed right now. We'll make sure someone helps you get that question answered in the morning.”


What Is Coming in 2019?

You may have seen some messaging in the app giving members a heads-up that something called multi-factor authentication, or MFA is coming. MFA exists today in the online banking website so it should feel familiar, but we are adding that functionality and security enhancement to the mobile app. 


How MFA works is there is an algorithm that looks at data provided, and then if there's a risk, that that's not really you, then we'll do what's called send you a challenge. That could be a text message with a code or that could be having you answer a security question or two that you set up with your online account. The goal of this feature is to help keep your account secure.


Zelle is the next evolution of our person-to-person payment product that allows you to send and receive money to people you know quickly and easily. All you need is a phone number or an email address, and because it will be part of the mobile app, you don't have to sign up for anything separately or download another app.


The cool thing about Zelle, in particular, that's different from Popmoney is that many banks, including most of the big banks, already have Zelle, so it makes it that much more user-friendly.


I keep seeing BECU refer to multi-step authentication as multi-factor authentication. Please implement REAL multi-factor authentication. You need more than one factor (something you know [passwords, security questions, text messages, emails] , something you have [a key fob, a cellphone], something you are [biometric data]). A text message counts as something you know since there is no security in place to guarantee the text is received by a particular phone. Same with email. You need an authenticator app which registers the physical device. Please implement the option to use authenticator apps as a second factor. We should be able to register multiple authenticator apps so we can use a second smart device as a backup should our primary crash or get lost. Please do not allow recovery codes to be sent by email or text since that makes recovery an easy workaround to the security. Since you are a bank, people can even come in and prove their identity for recovery so no flimsy, easily-hackable option should be forced on us.


I would be thrilled to see BECU implement FIFO U2F two factor authentication, or at least TOTP 2FA as mentioned by Jugglercat. 

Community Manager

@gooberSmash Welcome to the MIX community and thanks for jumping right in to add your voice to this topic. The security of our members information is our highest priority and we will continue to update our technology. I appreciate your suggestions and have shared this with the appropriate areas. Thanks! JohnS

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