Title: Chief Innovation Officer, Retail Payments Solutions

Institution: US Bancorp

Latest innovation: Instant issue NFC debit cards


Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer at US Bancorp, runs a bit of a skunkworks operation at the Minneapolis-based bank. Charged with evaluating emerging technologies for their long-term potential, as well as shepherding some products into production and beyond, Venturo and his team are waist deep in forging the future of retail payments.

Cool products to come out of his group recently include the first unembossed, instant-issue debit card to add Visa payWave functionality in the U.S., combining the convenience and personalization of embossed instant-issue with the leading edge NFC functionality of PayWave. US Bank was also part of a Mastercard NFC pilot that included chips embedded in Nokia phones. More recently, US Bank has been conducting internal pilots of Visa's P2P Money Transfer product using mobile phones.

These are some high-profile pilots, but Venturo's work spans from conducting active research and intelligence gathering to determine high-potential technologies based on consumer trends, to developing and then piloting new products or processes. He owns all of the bank's prepaid card business, including the Visa Buxx card aimed at teens and is working the development of self-serve kiosks.

Isn't that a bit afield from payments? Nope.

"If you don't consider them an ATM, they are largely facilitating a cash payment or a card-based payment," he says. "I'm spending a lot of time understanding consumer and small business trends, how their behavior is shifting as the world becomes more mobile enabled....and in our anytime, anywhere, always connected lifestyle."

Venturo got his Innovation title in 2007, but he's been in banking more than 20 years, mostly working in product design and development and marketing design. US Bank has fared well, comparatively, in the recent recession, allowing Venturo to, "with the right opportunities, be pretty nimble and flexible in the environment."

Overall, though, he acknowledges the meltdown has stifled much innovation in U.S. banks. "There's a lot happening in the non-bank sector, and around the globe, that we're keeping an eye on," he says. "The hotbed of activity may have momentarily lightened in the U.S., but I suspect it will come back."

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