Most Powerful Women in Finance: No. 6, Discover's Diane Offereins

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EVP, President, Payment Services, Discover Financial Services

It’s a thought that surely occurs to everyone occasionally, as they scribble an illegible line across the digital screen at a supermarket checkout counter, or scrawl their signature on a tiny, curled up credit card receipt: “What’s the point?”

For Diane Offereins, who runs the global payment services system for Discover Financial Services, that universally shared moment represented an opportunity to improve the customer experience of Discover cardholders and merchants around the world. So, in 2017, she began laying the groundwork for the elimination of signature verification for Discover card transactions across all of North America and the Caribbean.

Getting disparate teams across the company to do away with customer signatures at the point of sale took work. But after proving that the combination of chip technology, PIN numbers, anti-fraud algorithms and other safeguards had made signature verification superfluous, Offereins and her team convinced Discover to stop requiring them as of April 13.

The move to disrupt the point-of-sale experience was set in motion during a year of strong growth for Offereins’ line of business. Volume on Discover’s payments network leapt to $336 billion in 2017 from $307 billion in 2016, and the number of merchants accepting Discover cards increased to 42 million, from 39 million.

Offereins has nearly four decades of experience in the banking industry and has headed Discover’s payments operation since early 2009. She attributes her success and longevity in part to the contacts she has made both inside and outside of banking.

“Having a network of strong connections with people across various industries will help you grow and be more impactful in your career,” she said. “I tend to recommend that everyone find someone with a different set of experiences than your own and push yourself out of your comfort zone.”

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