RaboDirect moves towards mobile banking

Summary:RaboDirect has started development on a mobile internet banking platform for its customers, but general manager Greg McAweeney has flagged customer security as a primary concern in the mobile banking space.

RaboDirect has started development on a mobile internet banking platform for its customers, but general manager Greg McAweeney has flagged customer security as a primary concern in the mobile banking space.

Greg McAweeney

Greg McAweeney, general manager of RaboDirect(Credit: RaboDirect)

"The rise in mobile banking is definitely [a trend in Australian IT]. All of the major banks and even some of the second tier banks are now offering transactional mobile banking services. Clearly, the rise of smartphones are helping to drive that," he said.

McAweeney said that RaboDirect is in the planning stages of developing a mobile platform, in tandem with a revamp of its public website.

Banks like the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac and National Australia Bank all offer internet banking platforms that can be accessed through a mobile browser, as well as purpose-built applications for smartphones.

All three banks lock down their mobile platforms using secure session browsing and offer limited transactional capabilities. RaboDirect, NAB and Westpac require a two-pass identification method such as a token number to enable log-in or the addition of a new payee. NAB has also considered adding a third element to the log-in process to ensure the safety of its customers.

Commonwealth Bank said in a statement that it does not store any customer information on a handset, and it uses the same secure session techniques as a desktop computer. Westpac said that its customers were not able to move funds beyond existing billers or payees. NAB was contacted for comment, but it did not respond at the time of writing.

McAweeney said that limited transactional capabilities such as restricting how much users can pay to one biller in any one day were a challenge for RaboDirect, as the bank's accounts were not day-to-day transactional services and its customers tended to deal in larger amounts.

"I'd have some security concerns for [mobile banking] if you wanted to make it into a fully transactional platform. It's certainly something we're looking at ourselves ... even though our savings accounts are not day-to-day accounts," McAweeney said.

"You have to make sure you can protect the customer and their transaction details. Fraud tends to move to the weakest link in the chain. If your desktop is locked down but your mobile device isn't then you can be more open to it. It's those areas we have to look at quite closely."

In a recent report, analyst house Ovum has said that banks need to give more thought to the inherently vulnerable nature of mobile banking as it exposes user bank accounts to risk.

Topics: Security, Banking, iPad, Mobility

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A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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