Friday, January 14, 2011
Mobile is a real buzzword in the banking industry right now, both using the mobile to actually make a payment, or using a mobile phone, normally a smartphone, to manage your bank account, which we call mobile banking.
Mobile banking tends to take one of three approaches. The first and the most simple is communicating with your bank using SMS messages to check your balance or to authorise a transaction. In addition, a number of banks, Lloyds for example, use SMS messages as an extra form of security if you are making a payment through the regular internet banking site to check it is genuine.
The second form of mobile banking we see is a consumer using the internet browser on their phone to interact with their bank's online banking page, normally in much the same way as they would if they were banking from their laptop or PC, although some banks do provide a mobile-specific web page.
The third tool we see is the use of apps, such as for iPhones, which provide a direct interface to your bank account through your phone.
Mobile phone banking is a natural evolution of internet banking. People want to be able to manage their finances easily and at any time. People can check balances and statements, make payments online, transfer money, create or cancel Standing Orders or Direct Debits, apply for new cards or PINs – the options go on and on. We're all used to having access to our accounts 24/7. But as with any form of banking, the criminals are always working hard to try to break through security and get their hands on your money.
Banks have worked hard to protect themselves and their customers from online banking fraud, and many of the techniques will be the same for mobile banking. From the consumer side, there are a number of 'dos and don'ts':
1. DO remember your smartphone is still a computer, don't open any suspicious emails, texts or attachments.
2. DON'T accept any downloads if you don't know what they are
3. DON'T install any apps unless you know they are authorised
4. DO contact your bank immediately if you think you have been compromised
5. DO embrace mobile banking– one of the most important things you can do to help protect yourself is to check your bank statements regularly and tell your bank straight away if there is any suspicious activity on your account. Mobile banking means you can easily keep tabs on your account, any time, any place.
It is essential to remember that banks take fraud very seriously. Ultimately, it is nearly always the bank that picks up the tab if fraudsters hit your account, so they are all absolutely committed to keeping you and your money safe. They use very complex tools behind the scenes to look at every transaction on your account to flag or block activity that they believe is fraudulent. If a bank is releasing an app for banking on your mobile phone it will have gone through extensive security testing, to ensure that app doesn't turn out to be the weakest link.
David Divitt is a fraud solutions consultant at ACI Worldwide