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Thread: On-line Banking

  1. #1
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    On-line Banking

    We've so far resisted the siren-call of on-line banking, since it has always seemed to be the philosophical equivalent of walking around wearing a sandwich board that reads: "Carrying Money: Mug Me". So we do bank transfers using the telephone and a person who works for the bank. This now involves answering a whole list of questions designed to check if we're being scammed in some way - whether the money is being transferred in response to an unexpected telephone call, whether the payee's bank details have been "updated" by email, and so on. All really good, sensible stuff.
    In the advertisements I see for on-line banking, people just seem to tap a few buttons on their phone and then drive the car out of the showroom. Which seems to skip merrily past all the useful checks we're subjected to when we phone the bank. Have the advertisers simply omitted a whole bunch of check-boxes in their depiction of the process? Or does something else happen so as to reduce the risk of people inadvertently "booking a holiday" by sending their deposit to a Ukrainian teenager?

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    We've so far resisted the siren-call of on-line banking, since it has always seemed to be the philosophical equivalent of walking around wearing a sandwich board that reads: "Carrying Money: Mug Me". So we do bank transfers using the telephone and a person who works for the bank. This now involves answering a whole list of questions designed to check if we're being scammed in some way - whether the money is being transferred in response to an unexpected telephone call, whether the payee's bank details have been "updated" by email, and so on. All really good, sensible stuff.
    In the advertisements I see for on-line banking, people just seem to tap a few buttons on their phone and then drive the car out of the showroom. Which seems to skip merrily past all the useful checks we're subjected to when we phone the bank. Have the advertisers simply omitted a whole bunch of check-boxes in their depiction of the process? Or does something else happen so as to reduce the risk of people inadvertently "booking a holiday" by sending their deposit to a Ukrainian teenager?

    Grant Hutchison
    When I make payments via the web, it does put up warning messages about certain types of scam and, more recently, has added a step where they ask if I have really thought about / checked who I am paying.

    When I use the app on my phone, it just makes the payment "at the touch of a button". But I can't set up new payees on the phone. I have to do that on the web and then, again, it shows warnings and asks the question if I am sure about who I am paying.

    (I am fairly cautious about online security and am generally a late adopter but, for me, the benefits of online banking outweigh any potential risks.)

    ETA: They are also supposed to be bringing in a system in the UK where it will check the name of the account against the name you think you are paying. I gather that has been delayed though.

    The advantage of extra checks like that is not just that it reduces the risk of you sending your money to the wrong place, but it should also increase the chance that the bank has to admit it is liable if it does go wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    (I am fairly cautious about online security and am generally a late adopter but, for me, the benefits of online banking outweigh any potential risks.)
    Yes to both.

    I don't do any online banking on my phone, only on my home computer (which runs two different anti-virus / anti-malware programs). I'm afraid if I lose my phone, someone might find it and use the app. I only use online banking to send payments to well established businesses that I've set-up the account information about. I use a very unique user name and password for my banking account.

    So far, so good.
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    You don't even need to lose your phone. Mobile phone companies can sometimes be scammed into authorizing a new sim for your account, particularly if you use security questions that can often be guessed in a few attempts, like "favourite colour". Your real phone goes dead as its sim is deactivated, and meanwhile your bank account empties.

    Grant Hutchison

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    The bank laws (i.e. liability) for your country should be worth reviewing. Most of the liability is on the banks but there may be some time limits for some of that liability.

    For greater security, an online commercial account will every few months require a change in password, but this isn't true for personal accounts. But, no doubt, this could and should be done for personal accounts by the account holder.

    I prefer cash (and checks), nevertheless. My very first online purchase (from a major optics supplier) produced my very first notice from the FBI (or was it CIA?) that my card information, along with 40 or 50 others, had been stolen. The loss of internet for 2 days last month with AT&T was a problem. Heck, in the middle of my drive-thru order just last night, their ordering system went down and I had to park and go stand in line.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    You don't even need to lose your phone. Mobile phone companies can sometimes be scammed into authorizing a new sim for your account, particularly if you use security questions that can often be guessed in a few attempts, like "favourite colour". Your real phone goes dead as its sim is deactivated, and meanwhile your bank account empties.

    Grant Hutchison
    But I have instant access to control the use of my phone account via an app on my ... phone. Oh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Yes to both.

    I don't do any online banking on my phone, only on my home computer (which runs two different anti-virus / anti-malware programs). I'm afraid if I lose my phone, someone might find it and use the app. I only use online banking to send payments to well established businesses that I've set-up the account information about. I use a very unique user name and password for my banking account.

    So far, so good.
    My phone has a reasonably strong password. And the data will be erased after a few false attempts. Plus I can disable or erase it remotely. And then the banking app has another different password. Not infallible, but enough to deter casual tinkering.

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    I have an app on my phone that I can use for banking, but I am very bad at remembering my password, so I generally try not to use it and wait until I can get to an ATM.
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    I have the bank’s app on my phone but only use it to deposit checks. Otherwise I do everything through a PC and browser.

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    Most of my banking is done using my home computer (ISP-provided anti-virus) and browser, with a strong password to get into my accounts. I've occasionally checked balances and confirmed credit card transactions while on road trips using the phone's browser, but do not have the bank's app installed. Haven't had any surprises yet.

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    Anyone who steals my phone is in for profound disappointment, unless they steal it to make phone calls. As a friend recently remarked: "It looks like a brand new phone, except with fewer apps."

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    Yep, the only apps I've installed are for mapping (one that I used on a tablet when I was doing a lot of field work, but is convenient to have on the phone), to check my phone account, and one for the CBC news. Serious disappointment indeed.

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    I don't feel the least bit nostalgic about brick-and-mortar banking. I don't miss waiting in line, waiting to see a loan officer, or reconciling a paper statement to a paper checkbook...by candlelight, with a quill pen, while wearing a green visor. While I do make the occasional cash deposit (usually at the drive-through teller) I haven't written a check in years...and they weren't without their problems, either. I once had two boxes of brand new checks stolen from my mailbox. Fortunately, it was the mischief of a 10-year-old girl who did nothing more than write checks to her school friends. Still, I had to cancel the entire series with the bank, just to be sure.

    I'm all-in with online banking. Like Torsten, I use strong passwords that I keep in a strong password keeper app on my phone, which is lock coded. I manage my bank account online, pay my bills online, and document the whole shebang with Quicken.
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    Yes, I understand the convenience of on-line banking.
    But I'm someone who is prepared to put up with considerable inconvenience in order to avoid hazard (that's the sort of anaesthetist you'd want, right?).
    I was just interested in whether phone-app banking had any way to reduce the potential hazard of customers doing thoughtless things, since I was impressed by the sensible questions posed by the nice young man on the telephone.

    Grant Hutchison

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    I admit I haven't paid attention to developments in phone app banking, having only a general sense that it may now be possible to purchase items at some check-outs using a phone. Are these transactions subject to limits like on a credit card, or the total daily value of on-line transactions? If I'm understanding this correctly, you're suggesting from the advertising you've seen that the potential is similar to people who thoughtlessly run up their credit card charges. But rather than now having a big debt, they have drained their chequing or savings accounts.

    I've always had a strong sense for how hard I worked for my money, and so I've kept records of where I spend it (a Quicken user since 1995) and been very resistant to impulse buying.

    Regarding the bank transfers element of your OP, I just realized a sort of impulse-resisting check that was in play when I bought my motorcycle from a dealership where the people did not know me: I had to provide a certified cheque, which involved an inconvenient trip to a branch of my bank in this other town. But when I bought my much more expensive pickup truck from a local dealership where everyone knew me, they accepted my personal cheque without question.

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    I do have a banking app on my phone but I use it sparingly since I most often take care of business using my PC. When I do need to use the app, I'm careful to disable wi-fi and connect over the cellular network. There are far too many poorly-secured wi-fi connections out there to risk banking on, for my comfort.

    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    I admit I haven't paid attention to developments in phone app banking, having only a general sense that it may now be possible to purchase items at some check-outs using a phone. Are these transactions subject to limits like on a credit card, or the total daily value of on-line transactions? If I'm understanding this correctly, you're suggesting from the advertising you've seen that the potential is similar to people who thoughtlessly run up their credit card charges. But rather than now having a big debt, they have drained their chequing or savings accounts.
    I use Apple Pay with my phone, which is really just a convenient way of delivering your debit or credit card (your choice) information to a vendor. Samsung Pay and Google Pay are similar features. Basically, they use wireless communication protocols such as Near Field Communications or Magnetic Secure Transmission to relay your payment information to compatible terminals. Use can be secured by pass code, PIN, or biometrics (fingerprint, face) depending on your phone's feature set.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Yes, I understand the convenience of on-line banking.
    But I'm someone who is prepared to put up with considerable inconvenience in order to avoid hazard (that's the sort of anaesthetist you'd want, right?).
    I was just interested in whether phone-app banking had any way to reduce the potential hazard of customers doing thoughtless things, since I was impressed by the sensible questions posed by the nice young man on the telephone.

    Grant Hutchison
    But surely you're not the sort of person who is going to be taken in by a cold caller trying to persuade you to transfer your pension fund to their amazing new investment. So don't you get a bit annoyed with being asked questions that are supposed to stop other people being fooled? (That was slightly tongue in cheek. Also, I have seen some figures that suggest that smarter people are more likely to be taken in by those sorts of scams.)

    If you are just worried about mistyping a number or something, the online banking website/app both ask you to check and confirm the details before committing to the payment. It would be very easy to get into the habit of always clicking "OK" without looking but I always double check the account details, the amount (checking the number is right but also that there are the right number of zeroes), the date, etc. I assume you would do the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    I admit I haven't paid attention to developments in phone app banking, having only a general sense that it may now be possible to purchase items at some check-outs using a phone. Are these transactions subject to limits like on a credit card, or the total daily value of on-line transactions? If I'm understanding this correctly, you're suggesting from the advertising you've seen that the potential is similar to people who thoughtlessly run up their credit card charges. But rather than now having a big debt, they have drained their chequing or savings accounts.

    I've always had a strong sense for how hard I worked for my money, and so I've kept records of where I spend it (a Quicken user since 1995) and been very resistant to impulse buying.

    Regarding the bank transfers element of your OP, I just realized a sort of impulse-resisting check that was in play when I bought my motorcycle from a dealership where the people did not know me: I had to provide a certified cheque, which involved an inconvenient trip to a branch of my bank in this other town. But when I bought my much more expensive pickup truck from a local dealership where everyone knew me, they accepted my personal cheque without question.
    I think people who impulse-buy will find ways to impulse-buy. (A concept so foreign to my nature that I'd never even thought of it as a potential problem with phone banking.)
    No, it's just that I was impressed by the quite detailed list of questions the man at the bank went through to check for possible scamming. I was sitting on the phone thinking, Ah-ha, that's a good question; I see why you're asking that!
    So I didn't actually need all these checks to protect me, but I was glad the bank was carrying them out, and there's always the possibility that they'll be wise to some trick I haven't heard about yet. And I wondered what (if any) mechanisms were in place to safeguard people who have an app on their phone that lets them quickly zap off funds to someone else's account.

    (I've always bought cars by cheque, but I just hand over the cheque and then wait a couple of days for the funds to clear before I collect the car.)

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    I admit I haven't paid attention to developments in phone app banking, having only a general sense that it may now be possible to purchase items at some check-outs using a phone. Are these transactions subject to limits like on a credit card, or the total daily value of on-line transactions?
    I haven't used that either (late adopter, again). Mainly because I can't see the benefit. It is easier to use a card than a bulky phone.

    My understanding is that it is limited the same as using a card. In the UK, this is up to £30 per transaction with a contactless card. I know people who hardly ever use cash - they pay for just about everything with a card.

    I can't remember when I last wrote a cheque/check - my current bank account doesn't even come with a chequebook. I would have to go into a branch and ask them to issue a cheque if I needed one. That would be a pretty strong disincentive to impulse purchases!

    (Bit of trivia: I found out the other day that all forms of the word "check", from the pattern to the payment method, all come from the original meaning in chess.)

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    Don't fall for phishing websites, links, mails, textmessages or other. Follow your bank's safe banking instructions. And you should be safe as can be. Ask your bank about remaining worries, online security can and does differ between banks and countries. Talk to your bank about what possibilities you have to reverse or undo transactions done from your account, be they online or other. (Or look it up, those questions are so common they probably answer them on their website).

    Of course there's always some small risk that you can be scammed out of some money if you're not careful. But that's the same with with real money, and other banking transactions too (do you really know you're talking to your bank guy, and not someone who has hacked your telephone company's systems to go after your gazillions?). At least with digital banking there are several traces of transactions, unlike when you're handed fake money. And in my experience (as a software engineer responsible for the internet banking software for the bank I worked for) banks want to keep you as their customer and will do their best to help you if you've been scammed or even if an attempt at scamming you is detected.

    Plus, as George said, a lot of the liability is the bank's, which is another incentive to make the systems as tight as can be. The last 10 years that safety has improved quite a lot, at least in our bit of Europe.
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    My bank also has a security question/answer required for over-the-phone support and depending on the type of service needed, they may also ask additional questions about me or my account activity that only I should know. They also conduct fraud monitoring on my debit card, which has come in handy on one occasion. Apparently my card number was somehow harvested but the monitors caught it being used, blocked the charge, and locked my card down...which is how I found out about it, to my mild embarrassment. It was within minutes of the lock down that I tried to use my card at a local business, half a world away from the fraudulent attempt. I had a new card in a couple of days.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    But surely you're not the sort of person who is going to be taken in by a cold caller trying to persuade you to transfer your pension fund to their amazing new investment. So don't you get a bit annoyed with being asked questions that are supposed to stop other people being fooled?
    Not in the slightest. On the contrary, I'm reassured that I'm dealing with a responsible organization. And given that major UK banks are at present funding a compensation scheme for people who transfer money to scammers, I really would like to know that they're not just blithely signing off on people's dumber transactions without questioning them - because we can all be certain that the extra cost of the compensation scheme is showing up in my bank charges.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    Don't fall for phishing websites, links, mails, textmessages or other. Follow your bank's safe banking instructions. And you should be safe as can be. Ask your bank about remaining worries, online security can and does differ between banks and countries. Talk to your bank about what possibilities you have to reverse or undo transactions done from your account, be they online or other. (Or look it up, those questions are so common they probably answer them on their website).

    Of course there's always some small risk that you can be scammed out of some money if you're not careful. But that's the same with with real money, and other banking transactions too (do you really know you're talking to your bank guy, and not someone who has hacked your telephone company's systems to go after your gazillions?). At least with digital banking there are several traces of transactions, unlike when you're handed fake money. And in my experience (as a software engineer responsible for the internet banking software for the bank I worked for) banks want to keep you as their customer and will do their best to help you if you've been scammed or even if an attempt at scamming you is detected.

    Plus, as George said, a lot of the liability is the bank's, which is another incentive to make the systems as tight as can be. The last 10 years that safety has improved quite a lot, at least in our bit of Europe.
    As I say, I'm not asking about this because I'm frightened of being scammed myself. I'm asking because scamming causes anguish to its victims, some of whom are so embarrassed they never even report it, because the scammed money funds unpleasant criminal activity, and because it costs us all money in the long run, since "it's the bank's liability" means "the bank charges everyone extra to compensate".

    Grant Hutchison

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    I am another one who mostly does transactions on-line via my home PC. When we are overseas we have to occasionally use our laptop to make some transactions but then keep a very close eye on the accounts for a while afterwards. We have got separate credit and debit accounts with different banks than our normal one that we use for overseas travel and purchases. This is partly to avoid overseas exchange costs and fees and also to ensure that any hijacking of these accounts will not get anywhere our main accounts.

    We have a couple of instances of attempts to misuse our Credit Card but have not suffered any losses. One was overseas and was picked up by our bank the other was inside Australia and I picked it up very early and the transaction never occurred. We were issued with new cards very quickly. We always advise our banks of our overseas travel plans even though they don't all require such notice.There has never been any sign of an attempt to subvert our bank accounts directly.

    In Australia our "Tap and Go" limit is A$100 ( US$69 UK£52)

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    Man, each of you are light years ahead of us concerning the use of high tech for banking etc. I like to keep it simple and the old ways are the simplest for me. Yes, we have a pc, a tablet, and a cell phone, but we also retain a land line for phone banking which mainly involves monitoring balances and account transfers. I don't mind visiting the bank for in person big deals and monthly cash withdrawals. We have no apps as we find no use for them and really do not believe that they are so-called "free'.

    Our cell phone is a flip phone and it's mainly used during travel or when we lose power at home, again, no apps, we use the cell phone for the old fashioned stuff, like talking to people. We write out checks for monthly bills and do not trust giving our banking account info to utilities, etc for automatic direct withdrawals to pay bills, nor pay bills over the internet other than one credit card dedicated to online purchases and generally pay in cash for local shopping and entertainment. Sorry Grant, none of the above answers your question, other than possibly keeping it simple ;-)

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    I only started using online banking at all because my credit union stopped letting me transfer money into Graham's account at a different credit union at the branch down the block. I don't have checks, and Graham's credit union's nearest branch is across town and a minor nuisance to get to. So when I give him my share of expenses, the easiest way to do it is online banking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    ...I don't do any online banking on my phone, only on my home computer....
    Same here. Online bill-paying is so much easier than filling out a check for the bill, writing the account number on the check, putting a stamp on the envelope.... Especially the account number part. With online banking, you put in the account number once, and never again.
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    I must say I have the reverse experience - sending cheque, easy; paying on-line, annoying.

    A few years ago, my bank suddenly decided it was going to introduce two-factor identification for some on-line purchases. So they sent an authentication code to the phone number they had on record, which is an ancient landline with no text capability. I had no way of finding the code, or of changing the phone number, so I ended up having a late-night conversation with the bank's fraud team. After a bit of hunting around I turned up my mobile phone, and gave them that number for future reference.
    Flash forward a year or two, and another on-line bill payment results in another authentication text, this time to my mobile phone. Which is in my car. Which is three miles away embedded in a snow-drift. And so another chat with the fraud team ensues. My entire life-style seems to be incompatible with current trends in payment.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I must say I have the reverse experience - sending cheque, easy; paying on-line, annoying.
    Apart from the scams (that the questions the banks ask on the phone are to avoid) I think cheques are higher risk than on-line. Much easier to steal and (in some countries) cash over the counter.

    Also, the delay can cause problems. I would be very wary of buying a high value item with a cheque, especially from a private seller: you give them the cheque, come back 3 days later to collect the car (or whatever) and find they have disappeared.

    There is also some weird scam involving cheques for too much so they ask you to give them some cash back (or something).

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    All money comes with risk of theft, the banks will try to get away from cash and from cheques because of cost. With electronic transfer the risks become less obvious so extra vigilance and perhaps insurance is required of us. We hear of complex, sophisticated scams, often international to avoid prosecution, where identity theft and mimicking of genuine accounts can steal thousands.
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