Responding to user concerns, start-up Movenbank has moved to allay privacy and security fears over its use of Facebook for registration and log-in to the site.
Movenbank, which is pitching itself as a mobile-centric, cardless and branchless bank, opened up an 'alpha site' last month to trialists ahead of a commercial launch in the second half of next year.
However, the start-ups decision to require 'Alpha Team members' to use Facebook to register and log in has raised concerns. A reader commenting on a Finextra story made clear the issue is a deal breaker, writing "bye, I'm outta here," citing the importance of privacy and trust in banking and claiming "Facebook is the diametric opposite".
Movenbank founder Brett King responded to the concerns on Finextra and the firm has now used its blog to provide a fuller explanation, admitting that "several" people have raised the issue.
The blog post insists that more traditional authentication channels, "including a private, Movenbank-specific user identity" will be added once banking products are introduced.
Meanwhile, the company is collecting and using information on members' Facebook profile "Info" screens that are marked as public, including first and last name, current location, and profile picture, to customise the Movenbank dashboard and help identify 'financial personalities'.
It is also looking at users' lists of friends, identifying which of them are also Movenbank Alpha Team members and then sharing 'personality' information - as long as both parties agree.
Movenbank insists it will not share users' data with third parties, publish content to their walls or spam them or their friends and that it has its own Web site with its own data storage facilities that are completely segregated from Facebook.
Movenbank is wise to tread carefully. Facebook is not renowned for its privacy controls, and the Orwellian aspect of the social network makes many of its users uncomfortable. The idea that any bank - even an innovative bank 2.0 startup - might be prepared to piggy-back onto that public repository of user data and use it to build profiles of its customers could prove a big turn-off.