Letting you know what you need to know when you need to know it

Tom de Waal|21 February 2019
Letting you know what you need to know when you need to know it

I have, over the years, opened accounts at a number of banks in order to meet different needs: savings, payments, a mortgage, and so on. My family also have bank accounts, some of which we share. You probably have a similar spread of accounts. You will certainly be familiar with the type of mobile apps financial services providers typically offer us so that we can watch our accounts and transact digitally. They are convenient and (hopefully) secure.

Now and then, banks want to update me on various topics. Most of the time, they are marketing a new product or service, but sometimes, these updates are about terms and conditions, portfolio changes, or something else that really requires my attention. The thing is, my attention is in short supply, and my bank’s messages have to compete for it against a constant stream of other emails, text messages, phone calls, tweets, DMs, and the like.

Most banks do not use an app to message me; they send me an email. But emails have a way of going unread. Fraudsters are also, these days, really good at faking or “spoofing” them, which is something we read about in the media almost every week. Yes, if the bank has implemented widely used protocols designed to prevent spoofing, my email provider would be able to validate the email’s source, but in my experience, banks typically employ a third party to send out their emails, so reading an email from the bank often involves my analysing email headers and spam filter results – that’s if the email did not end up in my junk folder anyway.

One or two of my banks have taken a different approach – they have implemented a secure mailbox that requires access to a multi-factor authentication protected banking portal. It’s very secure, but it has its own drawbacks. I’m not in the habit of checking remote mailboxes, so when I do log in, I often find a stack of bank messages dating back several months – most of which are no longer relevant. (I won’t go into the cumbersome login process required to access the site; the dreaded security token I store in a safe place, which I promptly forgot, not having used it for so long.)

Bank notifications perfectly suited to the way we live now

At end of last year, Entersekt set about developing a solution to the problems you and I experience with email and bank portal inboxes. We called it “user notifications”. It’s an in-app bank-to-customer messaging feature combining security and accessibility in equal measure. On the technical side of things, it makes innovative use of our patented trusted channel to deliver information requiring immediate attention anywhere the user happens to be.

The PKI-based technology (public key infrastructure) validates the bank and user (mobile app) before any information is sent between them. All data is encrypted and can only be seen by the intended recipient.

It guarantees visibility. I can’t miss the message because it’s being delivered to a device I carry everywhere and, specifically, to a crucial app in my collection. I know the message is important because it is being delivered over a dedicated channel, one reserved for highly relevant alerts. The solution provides a convenient preview too, allowing me to assess the urgency of the message and jump into the details at the closest opportunity.

It also has some nice features to provide the bank with additional control for regulatory and usability purposes. It can return delivery confirmations without troubling the user. (This kind of proof is mandated in Europe for certain kinds of banking and investment-related notices.) Expiry dates can also be set per message, underscoring the time-sensitive nature of the alerts and avoiding those stacks of unread messages I find in my banking portal inbox.

That leaves me with one more thing: I need to send a message to my bank….

If you want to know more about Entersekt’s reliable, accessible, and secure user notifications, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About the author

Tom de Waal

Tom de Waal

Solutions Architect, Entersekt

Tom has a deep knowledge of IT-platform architecture, analyzing complex technical information, and designing crisp technical solutions that bring value to customers. As a structured, efficient and tenacious person, Tom is known for his non-stop availability and performance when managing large projects.

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Entersekt is an international software development company based just outside of Cape Town, South Africa.

We are leaders in authentication, app security, and payments enablement technology, offering a highly scalable solution set with a track record of success across multiple continents.