People not only want to do their banking at home, but also when they’re out and about. Yet, until fairly recently, many banks couldn't meet this demand. Not because they didn’t want to grant their customers mobile access, but because security is such a big worry.
It’s not just a question of granting safe access to mobile applications, but of ensuring that streams of data can’t be intercepted.
Quite simply, providing external access is a perennial problem.
But now, many financial institutions are conceding in the face of enormous customer pressure. Not only does this boost customer satisfaction; transferring some tasks to customers enables banks to make internal savings. Application security technology (AST) is the goal as banks strive to ensure that apps are safe in an unsecure environment. Developers are answering that call: Kobil, for instance, provides a number of systems that all address AST.
One problem to which phones and tablets are susceptible is "app-jacking," in which attackers install an identical banking app on a mobile device. Although customers believe the transaction has proceeded normally, they’ve in fact transmitted their access codes and PINs straight to a hacker. AST prevents this from happening via a complex system of security certificates and other safety measures.
Apart from security, banks must deliver high-quality customer service. Consequently, Allianz is now providing customers with a special app for use on both Android and iOS devices. It allows customers to carry out a number of banking operations such as obtaining their balance, performing credit transfers, and creating and amending standing orders. It even shows them where the nearest ATM is, complete with directions on how to get there. Accordingly, customers can get ahold of cash wherever they happen to be, and pay bills when they’re on holiday abroad.
Swiss provider Add-Direct has gone the extra mile by placing the bank online -- or at least parts of one. By logging on to Eny Finance, customers can borrow money on demand, and even go through the whole process online -- from submitting the application to receiving the money. The same also goes for insurance products.
One key factor is that all the options are available in mobile form; for example, clients can request loans using an app. What’s more, this platform enables providers to lower service charges without cutting back on support.
Banking apps don’t just help customers. Banks can also put them to profitable use. Last year, Credit Suisse developed an app for client advisers
Even though banks have finally taken the first steps towards mobile banking, there’s still plenty of scope for innovation. And the bottom line is that they’ll need to provide app-based services if they want to attract new customers and keep the ones they've already got.
— Charlotte Erdmann comments on a wide range of technologies from her base in Berlin. In addition to blogging, she is a media and communication consultant, organizing and managing large customer magazines and marketing activities within the IT industry.