Regulator Sounds Warning On Mobile Banking
Mobile phone networks and banks are being urged to ensure there are adequate protections in place for consumers as the popularity of mobile banking increases.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published a report exploring some early findings of a review into mobile banking services, setting out the possible risks to people and areas that firms should consider when developing their products.
The regulator, which has no powers of supervision over mobile device manufacturers, said that among its worries was that consumers may suffer as a result of small, fiddly keypads - with people being punished for making mistakes and not being easily able to correct them.
Mobile banking, which includes contactless payments, financial transfers and account monitoring - all via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers - will be considered in greater depth by the FCA in the full review to be published in the first half of 2014.
The FCA said it had objectives "to ensure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers and to promote the integrity of the UK's financial system".
Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the FCA, added: "Mobile banking is an exciting development in financial services, with increasing numbers of consumers attracted to the convenience of banking on the move.
"With the market growing, now is the right time for us to take stock and, as part of the FCA's forward looking approach, to ensure that consumers are appropriately protected.
"By publishing these initial thoughts we want to make sure that the industry knows exactly what we're looking into, and consumers have a clearer idea of some of the potential risks, he concluded."
As part of its forthcoming review, the FCA said it would be looking into whether providers of mobile banking services ensure their products and services are secure, reliable and straightforward to use.
The areas of potential risk it has identified include fraud, security and consumer awareness.
The FCA said users of mobile banking services also needed to consider their own actions, including taking steps to reduce the risk of fraud, such as making sure that should they lose their phone, others can't easily gain access to their account.