Mobile Banking & Security

In the previous article we discussed about the importance ‘context’, keeping mobile banking in mind.

I had shared the article with one of my fellow design thinkers — Anirban Bhattacharya (The Painted Sky/UBQT Design Solutions)

He posed an interesting question. “When we bring banking to mobile, will security be a key differentiator?”

We had a good discussion in LinkedIn and here is a snap shot of the same:

Security is a given, considering the critical nature of the application, but the real differentiator would be User experience and not bringing all of the features of a Web site to the mobile is very crucial.

a. Good user experience involves peace of mind which is provided by security of the application/device

b. Understanding the limitations of the platforms and understanding the context of usage becomes very important of what the user is going to do with the application…

Coming back to security, Mobile applications/devices suffer security vulnerabilities as web.

So how does the user trust the app and perform banking transactions leveraging their mobiles ?

Mobiles have become ubiquitous. In countries like India, they are everywhere and users are moving to this platform directly skipping a computer on the desk. Users can get a feature rich mobile phone for as low as USD 80 and a have a wide variety of needs. This has its own drawbacks and issues.

We can address this by observing how some other mass markets are serving their customers while cutting across different persona's.

Let us take transportation. While designing transportation systems, it is designed for extremes and not just the ‘average persona’, so that the persona's at the extreme ends of the user curve are supported and covered as well.

So in transportation — you have taxi’s and Uber, Prius and Tesla, Nano and Audi, Road transport to rail transport to Air transport and within them have variations addressing every ones needs..

So how do we apply it in the context of Mobile banking app?

First by, Applying the lens of extremes and identifying few of them in the case of Mobile Banking:

1. Devices — Basic Phones to the most sophisticated ones…

2. Demography of the users — employed to traders; young adults to elderly;

3. Need(s) of the users — Someone who will use the banking app once in a month to someone who will use it daily to perform multiple transactions

4. Connectivity — Users with 2G connections to users with Wifi/4G network access

Banks can offer multiple solutions depending upon the above classification and they may decide not to address a segment of extreme. For someone with a basic phone — the solutions may completely work through SMS/Text messages with a two factor authentication based on a non-mobile system. For someone with a rich feature phone, banks can provide multiple levels of secure apps depending upon what the user would like to do frequently and charge for it.

For people with varying need banks may offer few free high secure transactions to charge the users above a certain amount of transactions.

By applying basic design principles, mobile banking applications can create trust in the midst of the users and also opens up a completely different business models for the Banks.

As this is a revenue stream, banks will be keen on upgrading the security technology with better research and partnerships. This will result in users feeling comfortable about being able to perform secure banking transactions from their mobile devices.

While we are on this topic of banking and mobile, listen to this podcast with a similar theme which was published on 29th Jan 2016: http://a16z.com/2016/01/29/a16z-podcast-when-banking-works-like-my-smartphone/

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