Make banking hassle-free

At a recent dinner held in conjunction with my former principal's retirement, I was taken aback when I found out that several of my former school mates do not subscribe to the idea of online funds transfer.My friends, mind you, hold respectable professions--some are lawyers and entrepreneurs--and have been exposed to technology at least half their lives.

At a recent dinner held in conjunction with my former principal's retirement, I was taken aback when I found out that several of my former school mates do not subscribe to the idea of online funds transfer.

My friends, mind you, hold respectable professions--some are lawyers and entrepreneurs--and have been exposed to technology at least half their lives.

It's the fear of money landing up in the wrong accounts, one pointed out. A couple agreed that it was mostly the hassle of having to remember bank account numbers.

This led me to think about the move by Singapore banks over the last few months to enhance the security of online banking. The mandatory two-factor authentication policy is tipped to better protect customers. But, a balance has to be achieved between security and providing ease-of-use services to customers.

The main grouse has been that users are not given a choice amid the different modes of added authentication, but the underlying grumble is the hassle. With choice, banking customers can opt for the authentication method that they feel affords them the least hassle. For me, it's a hassle when I receive different hardware tokens from banks that I have a relationship with.

Kudos then to OCBC for offering three modes: hardware tokens, software tokens and an SMS (short messaging service) tool to generate one-time passwords and provide the second layer of authentication.

The two-factor authentication wave sweeping across Asia is still relatively nascent, and banks in the region will do well to consistently look at how they can make Internet banking as hassle-free as possible for customers.

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