News & Views - Savantor

Back to basics?

Monday, 15 February 2010

Some recent research into transaction banking trends shows that a high proportion of banks need to simplify their payments businesses. Some of the findings reveal that 65% of those canvassed stated they needed a simplified process for making changes to payment standards and rules across their multiple payment systems and 60% of respondents reported that their payment environments are fragmented across these disparate processing systems. The drive towards greater simplicity needs to continue as the competition seems to be hotting up. In the UK we have seen proposals for several new banks in recent months and now a group of Cambridge businessmen are setting up what they call a 'boring' bank. The new firm, which is applying to the FSA for a banking license, will concentrate on lending to small local businesses with its name reflecting the risk-averse attitude of people after the financial collapse.

We have also seen that department store retailer John Lewis is the latest non-bank player considering a move into the financial services sector. The retailer is exploring the possibility of applying for a banking license and launching a savings account. Tesco, Virgin Money, US investment group Blackstone, Vernon Hill's Metro Bank and Walton & Co are all making moves to take advantage of perceived public disillusionment with the UK's high street banks by establishing their own presence.

This week has also seen Ross Anderson having another go at Chip and PIN. This seems to involve a Smart Card Reader, some cable, a laptop and a wired Smart Card in a man-in-the-middle attack which spoofs the genuine card into thinking that the CVM for a transaction was Chip & Signature but the wired card has interacted with a POS as if it were a Chip and PIN Transaction. All well and good but really why would fraudsters bother? They need to use a genuine card and that would soon be blocked. Why not do what they do now and clone it and send the details around the world where multiple transactions can be done using mag stripe and signature? If I was a fraudster I know where I would invest my time and money.

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