St Louis-based Vantage Credit Union has launched a mobile account information and money transfer service via mricoblogging site Twitter, dubbed TweetMyMoney.
Users who sign up for the service are provided with a list of seven hashtag commands for sending a direct message to Vantage CU to obtain account information via their personal Twitter feed.
- #bal - Reports balances for as many as five different types of deposit accounts
- #15d - Returns the last 5 deposits, including the date posted
- #15w - Returns the last 5 withdrawals, including the date posted
- #15c - Returns the last 5 checks to clear, including the check number and date cleared
- #15t - Returns the last 5 transactions, including the date posted
- #holds - Reports any active point-of-sale (POS) holds on the account, including the name of the merchant and the amount of the hold. Hotels are one type of merchant that commonly put holds on debit cards. The amount of the hold counts against your balance, which, if you didn't know about it, could trigger overdraft fees
- #tran - Allows a member to transfer money between their deposit accounts. A transfer can only be make between various accounts held by a specific member. Money cannot be transferred to any external third-party.
Introducing the service on the Vantage Credit Union blog page, the firm is at pains to address security and stability issues relating to the use of Twitter as a relay banking channel.
"When you use tweetMyMoney, you are NOT sending direct message tweets to our online banking server. There are other systems responsible for communicating to and from Twitter. The information contained in your tweets, as well as the information sent back to you, are generic. Twitter hash tag commands. Dollar amounts. Dates. Suffix codes. Useless information to anyone but you. In fact, most of this type of information is sent to people everyday by virtually all financial institutions in the form of e-alerts. If your Twitter account was somehow compromised at Twitter and you had not deleted your direct messages returned from tweetMyMoney, all a hacker would see is this information, which is useless to him..
"Keep in mind, no account number or other sensitive personal information is displayed in tweetMyMoney. All the sensitive information is kept safe here behind the online banking firewall."
The credit union says all tweets sent from the bank will be prefaced with a six-digit digital signature, or 'Correspondence Authentication Code' through which users can verify the identity of the sender.
"We have taken extraordinary steps to ensure tweetMyMoney is safe. We have run its design and security controls by an industry-leading firm that has an exceptional track record in this line of work," the Vantage CU blog continues. "They provided an unbiased opinion and helped validate our approach before we launched. Despite all our due diligence, if we suspect or find any REAL security threats, we'll cancel the service immediately."