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Customers Want It All: Balancing Simplicity and Security in Mobile Banking

Mobile devices offer a number of new security measures to fend off fraud. But banks will have to consider just how many layers of security customers will be willing to navigate.

Finding an Acceptable Compromise

Right now, however, financial institutions are favoring customer convenience too much, according to Sean Brady, director of product marketing at security solutions provider RSA, a business of EMC (Hopkinton, Mass.). He points to how frequently and easily banks upgrade their mobile apps. One solution, Brady indicates, is to offer more mobile security measures, such as mobile security alerts, to customers as opt-in features. "It has to be the consumer's choice," he recommends. "Otherwise it's just too invasive."


Because of security fears, only one in five mobile phone users has banked via a mobile app in the past year, the Federal Reserve reports. And the average loss in brand value for a company that experiences a data breach can exceed $300 million, according to PwC. While it is harder than ever to secure the increasingly mobile-based, real-time and open-access enterprise, it's also more important than ever. Bank Systems & Technology's security special digital issue examines the strategies and tools banks are using to provide an exceptional customer experience without compromising safety.

Brady also says he expects to see more finely grained, targeted security policies concerning customers' mobile devices. For instance, banks might not allow certain transactions or account access if the mobile device is overseas or the mobile number is out of reach, Brady suggests, adding that creating these policies and implementing additional security measures will require increased collaboration among banks and their security providers.

In addition to actually making the mobile channel secure, banks also need to project a secure front and ensure that customers feel secure when banking on their mobile devices, according to Calvin Grimes, mobile product manager at Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv. "You have to present a secure image," he stresses.

"The page needs to look like your brand and have little padlocks and statements of fraud protection," Grimes suggests. "Reassure customers that they are in the right place." Grimes also advises using the same images and security questions that banks use online to help customers feel comfortable and secure in the mobile channel.

Minimizing the pre-registration to use the mobile app also is important, Grimes adds, so customers can start using the app quickly. As much as customers want to feel secure, they still don't want to be overly inconvenienced, he insists. "Simplicity is paramount in mobile," Grimes says. "You don't want to burn the customer with extra steps."

Jonathan Camhi has been an associate editor with Bank Systems & Technology since 2012. He previously worked as a freelance journalist in New York City covering politics, health and immigration, and has a master's degree from the City University of New York's Graduate School ... View Full Bio

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