Posts Tagged ‘Online Banking’

Mining Online Gold

Watching the keynote from yesterday’s Apple WWDC gave me a whole lot of ideas for cool banking apps.  One thing that stood out to me was the $2.5 billion that had been paid out to developers since the launch of the App Store.

One reason that developers have stayed on the Apple bandwagon is that they make it so easy to get paid.  Apple tries to make everything is simple as possible.  Giving developers tools that help them get paid quickly and view reports about sales is one way to keep them happy.  If only banks and credit unions did the same.

Lately I’ve been working on my secret project, code phrase “Rice Krispie Treat.”  With some of the planned features, I have need of a merchant account.  Every single bank and credit union that I viewed online offers business services.  Unfortunately, I have to call someone and set up an appointment to get started.

Compare this with companies such as PintPay, Chargify, Recurly and CheddarGetter.  In about thirty minutes, I can sign up and be ready to accept payments on my website, all from the comfort of my couch at home.  Actually, it would take that long if I wanted to fully integrate their gateway into my site.  For basics, it’s less time than it would take to open a checking account.

Commercial customers are the lifeblood of a financial institution.  Giving them tools that help them run their business better should be a higher priority.  They need more than online banking.  Besides, if I can sign up my business for online banking while online, I should be able to obtain other services online also.

Security Questions Are The Devil

Sign-up for your bank or credit union’s online banking and you’ll most likely be asked to select some security questions and answers.  This is one of the safeguards used to cut down on fraudulent access to customer accounts.  This is also the security feature that I hate the most.

Well, let me amend that.  I hate the current, typical implementation of security questions.  The problem is, all the questions are easy to figure out if you know the targeted customer.  Lately, what I’ve seen is instead of selecting from ten questions, you now have twenty to choose from.  All this means is someone I met after I finished college may not know the answers, but a childhood friend might.

There have already been plenty of high profile examples of celebrity online accounts being hacked through security questions.  The generic choices given aren’t that hard to figure out.  A quick search on Facebook (who uses security questions in typical fashion) will answer a majority of them.  All you have to do is dig through a person’s wall posts and their profile.

A simple solution to all this is to let the user come up with their own questions.  There could even be a list of generic questions to use as a guide.  But it’s a lot better if the user types “What is your favorite cartoon episode” instead of selecting “What was your high school’s mascot”.

Online Business Banking #FTW

April 7, 2011 3 comments

I was watching a recent episode of MSNBC’s “Your Business”.  In this particular one, they had a segment about embezzlement at a bookstore in Fairhope, AL.  Apparently, the bookkeeper embezzled over $100,000 over a two year period.  She used her position to hide bank statements, double pay herself, and write checks to pay her personal bills instead of vendors.

The owners mentioned that because they were so busy trying to keep the business afloat, they were lax in following up on the financial health of their business. Now, I was confused as to why they didn’t regularly meet with the bookkeeper.  They also never had an audit performed by an outside agency.  But their biggest issue? They didn’t have online business banking.

What gave it away was the part about never seeing their bank statements.  With online banking, they would have known within 60 days that something was wrong.  They could have also seen their check images and received alerts about wires and balance thresholds.  Such a simple service could have saved them a lot of heartache and alerted them to problems.