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Financial collapse & debunking electronic banking myths

In the midst of the current banking collapses and the ensuing madness that comes with it, I had to buy a car for my better half this week.I needed to use a debit card for slightly more than the usual cost of a sandwich, as you might imagine.
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Written by Adrian Bridgwater on

In the midst of the current banking collapses and the ensuing madness that comes with it, I had to buy a car for my better half this week.

I needed to use a debit card for slightly more than the usual cost of a sandwich, as you might imagine. So to complete this transaction I had to go to my bank (ok I could have just phoned) to warn them of the impending transaction and agree that, if needed, the car showroom credit check system could ask me to confirm the name of my first goldfish (or whatever) for security purposes.

Does that sound convoluted to you? I didn’t mind really, there’s so much fraud about these days and it did make things ultra secure. But what if I had just tried to pay electronically I wonder? How about if I wanted to pay from my mobile phone even?

So that was the real world.

Back in ‘snazzy media technology land’ I am reading this week’s news on banking databases, DBAs and the application developers that feed these systems to keep them alive and humming along nicely. Not only is online banking as safe as houses, but mobile banking (so the vendors would have us believe) has reached hitherto unheard of levels of security.

Consumer education remains key to widespread adoption we’re told. The fact is that standards and interoperability, let alone a truly robust platform to build applications for this stuff on, have also held the market back. Back in 2004, Bill Gates didn’t exactly help the situation by saying that SPAM would be solved within two years did he? That kind of comment leaves scars on the public subconscious.

The survey I’m looking at is called, “Mobile Banking: The Second Wave Global Mobile Banking Survey 2008,” and it emanates from Sybase 365. It shows that only a third of banks currently offer mobile banking facilities, but another third plan to offer mobile services in the next 12-24 months. It’s hard to place complete faith in figures that span the entire globe from Asia-Pac to Europe and the Americas, but try telling HSBC not to think global huh?

If mobile banking is to succeed and successfully integrate with Internet banking, I wonder what the governing factors will be in this zone. There’s clearly a consumer confidence angle, there’s also clearly a long way to go in the phishing & scamming arena.

Going deeper, the applications that drive these transactions will need to be foolproof. Going deeper again, the databases that process this data will need to be agile and have powerful design and build features. Deepest of all, surely the platform that these technologies are built on will have to be as hard as nails (or super-robust as the vendors would probably say).

So what car did I buy my wife? Promise you won’t laugh? Click here.

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