Three ways banks can help their “Generation M” customers stay secure

Last updated: 24 March 2015

As part of our Generation mBanking series we’ve already established that digital natives – young people that have grown up with the internet – would readily change banks if they had a poor mobile banking experience. They are also more likely to air their grievances on social media. According to previous third party research, a third of UK 25-33 year olds use social to air their grievances more publically. And poor security is certainly a trigger point. Our own research found that young people wouldn’t tolerate poor security; even if they don’t act wisely themselves. Does this sound surprising?

Well not if you’re parents of teenagers: you may well have first-hand experience of dealing with predictably unpredictable behavior. Generation M (age 18-27), may not be as chancy as their younger counterparts, but many still present some quandaries.

Their approach to mBanking is a case in point. According to our research, 77% of young people use online banking services, even though two thirds are concerned about the risk of using a smartphone or tablet for banking. So people are using these services, even though they’re worried about them.

trust and security issues

Figure 1: Source: Gemalto Generation MBanking Report

It follows, given these concerns, that young people will take extra precautions. And yet, almost a third (31%) would be happy to access online banking services over unprotected public Wi-Fi networks. This is a risky practice at the best of times.  But it doesn’t quite line-up, when you consider that 48% would be happy to switch banks if they felt their bank wasn’t offering adequate security.

Despite these contradictions, security is paramount – from a real-world and perception point of view. In my mind, banks have a three-fold challenge; to be more secure, show that they are more secure and finally to help their customers to be more secure.

For each phase, we think there’s a good approach banks should take:

  1. Embrace best practice with mBanking app development. This means ensuring strong links and strong encryption between every point in the mBanking communications network, from the end user through secure authentication and finally into the bank’s systems and data. Many mBanking applications are developed ‘in-house’ and cannot have the depth of capability that industry-leading application development platforms do, and regular assessment in that vein is vital.
  1. Make security a cornerstone of your marketing. Given the rising number of breaches the world over, and the high levels of sensitivity of Generation M, if you’ve built in good security, try to convey that to your target and existing audience.
  1. Educate your customers on security best practice. Even if your security is rock solid, customers with poor security practices, from using public wifi to having ‘password’ as their password, will be the weak link. So you need to help them to help themselves.

This video helps demonstrate how to use mobile banking in a safe and secure environment, which includes launching a login challenge and checking against verification pin codes and other signing challenges before a transaction is accepted. All of which should reassure users that their money is in their hands online.

These precautions are necessary because r if digital natives experience fraud (even if they acted negligently), they will blame their bank and there is a growing chance they will move to a rival. There are country to country variations in our data but across the Generation mBanking study, it seems that robust security is a critical piece of the proposition for the next generation of connected, mobile customers.