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Changing the balance

In what is undoubtedly a positive move for consumer safety, the European Central Bank has issued a set of draft recommendations for mobile banking and payments security. However, while agreed standards in an industry that suffered £40m in online fraud losses last year can only be seen as a good thing, mobile banking doesn’t just need to be robust; it needs to be user-friendly. Security and usability however, can prove a tricky match. So, what can banks do to ensure they strike the right balance?

While nobody wants to compromise the security of their hard-earned cash, adding extra layers of authentication comes at a cost. Our own research highlighted this issue, identifying that almost a quarter of consumers are frustrated by the need to use a card reader, with one in ten admitting to losing it altogether and becoming permanently locked out of their digital banking system.

Similarly, while complex twelve-digit passwords can help improve security, they can also undermine it. One in four consumers admit to writing down their password as they simply cannot remember it, while a further quarter uses the same password for all online activity (which according to Splashdot, is more often than not the word ‘password’). As a result, these actions render the carefully designed security systems of digital banking somewhat redundant.

So what’s the solution? Well, the good news is that emerging technology such as the fingerprint scanner on the new iPhone 5S has the potential to satisfy the need for both a robust and user-friendly mobile banking experience. And with a surge of new technology set for 2014, featuring wearable technology and tablets with retina scanners, it won’t be long before most mobile devices incorporate biometric authentication.

It’s by no means an easy task to create a convenient, consumer-friendly mobile experience that also includes stringent security measures; however, this new wave of technological innovation could hold the key to achieving this delicate balance. For consumers struggling to securely remember multiple passwords, this is a welcome step in the right direction.



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