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@Banks: Mobile Banking Security Becomes Stylish

April 22, 2010

With the advent of mobile banking becoming a baseline service for most banks in the US, easy, mobile access to high frequency information and functions such as balances, payment dates and custodial (accounts within the same bank) transfers is becoming a dominant use case, much to the benefit of the consumer.

In the newest stage of mobile banking, more robust apps on the iPhone, Android and Blackberry as well as more well-equipped mobile browser sites have been introduced.  These new apps enable important functions that allow users to transfer value into or out of their accounts with the bank who issued the mobile software.   In addition to adding to consumer convenience as well as improving engagement metrics for bank P&Ls, these functions, at long last, bring forward the fraud risk of mobile that the nay-sayers have been going on about since the first SMS balance alert.

New features that are raising security concerns include,

  • Remote check deposit which is now the “must-have” functionality for FI’s who have rolled out mobile and went through the Check 21 upgrade for when the law was passed in 2004.
  • Mobile P2P, inter-institutional transfers are on the hotlist in 2010 for many banks.
  • Mobile merchant payments are on the radar, and presents fraud risks similar to magstripe/signature payments.

These new functions do introduce more access to your funds and the ability to manage financial transactions, which speaks to the importance of mobile banking applications being well-tested, and ideally, provided by mobile experts with experience in the field of mobile information services.

Whether hired into the bank or contracted from an outside firm, banks would do well to bring the support required rather than assign mobile to their (probably) already understaffed web development team.

Mobile software, particularly browsers, are a major concern.  As the Android platform proliferates (watch the Droid Incredible) and more browsers become available, it is inevitable that security standard variations will produce exploits for malicious users.

For consumers, it is important to be aware that your cell phone is like your PC in many ways now.  Also, with banking, and other personal apps on your phone, it is important to secure the device itself with a password or PIN and also to keep any personal information such as Social Security numbers in a password secured data storage app. published a guide on Tuesday to keeping your funds secure while using a mobile device. It included a few other handy tips.


From → Mobile Banking

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