Customer experience experts welcome easy mobile payments but say banks' attitude to security may be exposedDate: 29/04/2014, London, UK
The government-backed, cross-industry mobile payments scheme, Paym, went live this week, with 90 per cent of UK current accounts committed to a launch this year. Guy Cooper, a customer service specialist from Aspect Software, welcomes the scheme, but suggests that it could easily expose the banks' ability to deliver easier payments while dealing with inherently increased security risks.
"Any payment method that is easier for the customer to use will inherently mean that there is a higher security risk, so banks will need to implement further levels of security to reduce that risk factor," he said. "But straight away we have a catch-22 situation, because who wants more security layers and authentication processes to go through, when the whole point of the initiative is to make it easier – almost effortless – to pay someone?"
Just last month the British Bankers' Association revealed that transactions using mobile banking doubled in the previous 12-month period, reaching 18.6 million transactions in a year, with downloads of mobile banking applications reaching 12.4 million.
There are many existing ways of making payments using a mobile phone, but the Payments Council's Paym initiative provides the first collaborative effort to link every bank account with a mobile phone number — as long as your number's registered, you can receive cash from anyone with a mobile number.
Cooper, who is General Manager for Aspect PES, commented: "We know that there is widespread appeal for mobile banking and payments, as highlighted by the adoption rates with major financial institutions. And it's easy to shout about how great and wonderful one-touch mobile payments are, but customers are incredibly savvy to the point where they are extremely serious about protecting their sensitive information. The risk of hampering customer satisfaction is significant, particularly with the impact through fraudulent activities or even declined – yet legitimate – transactions. Paym will be the latest application to demonstrate which banks are taking their customers' security seriously and which ones need to up their game."
He said: "A technological and strategic initiative of this magnitude will present inherent risks to both the bank and the consumer, and will provide an opportunity for fraudsters to target this emerging and fast growing remote banking channel with new and inventive methods of deception to enable them to steal account holders' identities.
"With these developments, there is now much more onus on banks to provide secure systems. Previously, customers could only send payments by using a card reader or other similar technology, but by removing some effort on the customer's behalf, the effort must instead be placed on the banks to ensure that the transaction is secure," he said.
"Cementing customers' trust in both the bank and the new payment method is critical; they have become used to having to jump through hoops to access their online banking, and by removing this, there is bound to be doubt in the customers mind that this is secure. Banks need put their customers' minds at ease about the technologies and security implications.
"The inconvenience and embarrassment of having a card blocked, or a legitimate card transaction being declined, highlights the importance of getting this service right. Fundamentally, providing a solution that is easy to use, quick, and secure, is the basis on which mobile payments can thrive", Cooper concluded.
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Lily Ingrey / Tom Harvey
Spreckley Partners Ltd
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