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NatWest suspends GetCash app amid fraud fears

08 October 2012  |  11091 views  |  6 Natwest logo web screen shot

NatWest has suspended its GetCash mobile app, which lets users withdraw money from ATMs without a card, after it emerged that thieves had defrauded some customers.

Launched in June, the 'GetCash' tool within the NatWest mobile app sends, upon request, a six digit PIN which can be entered at the bank's ATMs at any point within the next three hours to collect money.

Customers can ask for up to £100 at a time and make as many requests as they want in a day as long as they do not exceed their withdrawal limit.

Over the weekend, BBC Radio 4's Money Box programme revealed that the system has been used by thieves to steal hundreds of pounds from some customers.

One man spoken to by the programme had £950 taken from his account in 11 withdrawals over three days, despite not having signed up to the service. NatWest initially refused to refund the victim, accusing him of handing personal details to a phishing fraudster (the decision was overturned after Money Box contacted the bank).

Victims were told by NatWest that the service was being withdrawn although the bank told Money Box that it is only suspended for a "planned update" which will see the daily withdrawal limit cut.

NatWest suspends Get Cash app - BBC

Comments: (6)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 08 October, 2012, 12:25

It was just the matter of time. Who is next?

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David Abbott
David Abbott - Nourpay - Riyadh | 08 October, 2012, 16:58

With mobile  - a compromise is always only a matter of time - and as these storys get out  more consumers will shun mobile payment related services. Yet another blow for the Mobile hype promulgators.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 09 October, 2012, 10:11

The problem is not with "what" (i.e. mobile), but "how" (the implementation). A knife can be used to heal (scalpel) or feed (chef's knife) or kill (a murder weapon).

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Pat Carroll
Pat Carroll - ValidSoft - London | 10 October, 2012, 10:59

The decision by Natwest to suspend its Get Cash app, whilst being a wise one, has cast an unwarranted bad light on mobile based transacting. Since this first came to light there has been speculation as to the cause of the fraud losses, ranging from mobile operating systems, mobile hacking and zero-day exploits. The truth, I suspect, is rather more mundane. The fraudsters were able to download the app and register it with the victim’s debit card details because there was no strong authentication at the point of registration, simply knowledge based information which we all know can be gleaned by fraudsters in a number of ways, such as phishing.

Ironically, the customers who had actually downloaded and registered the app were safe from the fraud; it was those that hadn’t who were at risk. This episode therefore had nothing to do with the medium being a smart-phone but everything to do with the process employed in deploying and activating the app. There is no real difference between this and Internet banking losses through the reliance on PINs and Passwords alone.

In this and other instances that will surely follow, we need to look at the end-to-end process rather than casting a shadow over mobile banking.

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David Wilson
David Wilson - Ontonix UK - Glasgow | 10 October, 2012, 11:01

A Government spokesman was quick to accept the plaudits for their groundbreaking "underclass creation and training initiative". An opposition spokesperson claimed that "it was our total ineptitude and years of mismanaging tax revenues (generated by creating and exploiting a consumerist culture during light-touch banking regulation) that created this whole mess 'opportunity'", typical 'they' blame us for everything then take credit(!) for this".

In a brief statement George Osborne's carer pointed out all the hard work Mrs Thatcher had put in before that 'smarmy war-monger' Blair and his Tory impersonators merely carried it on..."this is defo our shout" she said.
In a new development Angela Knight (the Armani-clad spokesperson for BBA [British Bankers Apologists]) has joined the fray! She was quick to point out that "these 'rogues' had nothing on their membership when it came to imaginative ways of scamming cash from customers". A statement that is hard to argue with.

She continued, "for many years we have colluded, without fear of favour, with Governments of any hue and NGOC's [Non Government Organised Crime] and Economists across the Globe to establish networks that reach deep into the pockets heart of Corporations and citizens the world over", "our customers should not worry, we will (eventually) reimburse them...and claw it all back later".

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David Wilson
David Wilson - Ontonix UK - Glasgow | 10 October, 2012, 11:05


Apparently some customers have hit back! Mr A Twonk, representing a customers group (the dumped-on, downtrodden and disappointed Inaction group), whose strategy has been 'deep' inertia, said "this bunch of robbers offer unprecedented levels of transparency, efficiency and customer service. For that, at least, we are grateful".

He continued, "gone are the bad old days of street muggings...when bankers and their agents, randomly accosted young and old with sharp tongues, suits and practices behind disguises so convincing that unsustainable levels of indebtedness looked like the innocent credit it was (mis)sold as". He added "it would be perfect but they lack a PPI product so should look for a good honest insurer"!!! 

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