In an American Banker article today (here), Wachovia says it is developing security controls that will put users in charge of some of their own security settings such as the size of a funds transfer allowed. According to John Watkins, Wachovia's Director of Online Services, the new capabilities will be available "sometime this year."
This is not a new concept. The first full-service online-only bank in the world, Security First Network Bank, offered user-set bill payment limits more than ten years ago. Other international banks, such as ABSA Bank in South Africa, have long allowed users some control over security matters.
However, in the United States user-controlled security has been slow to catch on, other than via triggered email alerts, which remain the first line of defense. For several months, Bank of America has been reminding online banking users that alerts can help them prevent fraud in their accounts.
While it's too early to speculate on what Wachovia will or won't do, the concept is a good one, and will eventually be used to some extent by all financial institutions. It's a win-win, providing users a better sense of control while reducing actual fraud losses within the bank.
For more information:
See Online Banking Report #119, "Marketing Security" for more ideas on how to turn security concerns into a marketing advantage.