TABLE OF CONTENTS
01.00............ EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
02.00............ TRENDS IN RETAIL BANKING
03.00............ ABOUT THE INTERNET
04.00............ VIRTUAL BANKING AND APPLICATIONS
04.01............ SMART CARDS
06.00............ SECURITY ON THE INTERNET
06.03............ TRUSTED OPERATING SYSTEMS
07.00............. REGULATIONS AND PROBLEMS
08.00............ CONCLUSION .
01.00 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The Internet is emerging as an efficient delivery channel for financial services. With Internet banking, customers do not need to have special bank-issued software. Banks maintain their identity and can differentiate themselves by customizing the services and information they provide over the Internet.
02.00 TRENDS IN RETAIL BANKING
What does better customer mean? Increasingly, customers are demanding more convenient ways to do their banking. An Ernst and Young study (Technology in Banking Report) concluded that "nothing changes in the banking world if customers cannot get financial services when and where they wish...this means anywhere, at any time." Statistics show that ATM's, telephone banking, and home banking account for over fifty percent of all banking transactions today, and total non-branch activity is growing at fifteen percent a year. In one survey (Web-Tech, Inc., May 17, 1995), eighty-two percent of 18- to 34-year olds polled preferred banks with 24-hour service.
Customers are also demanding a more sophisticated mix of products tailored specifically to their financial needs, and non-bank competitors are better fulfilling these needs. Banks today hold only 20% of household financial assets, versus 34% twenty years ago; they have 30% of business deposits, versus 42% only seven years ago. Nonbank credit card providers have gained inroads against banks, holding a 25% market share versus 5% in 1986 (WebTech, Inc., May 17, 1995).
Internet banking offers an attractive solution to this redesigned products and services. Customers have 24-hour graphical-interface access to their accounts and appreciate that their bank is doing something to make banking easier for them.
03.00 ABOUT THE INTERNET
The Internet has exploded in the last two years thanks to the invention of the so-called "browser." A browser is a point-and-click software program that allows "surfers" to navigate around the Internet without knowing any UNIX commands. The first browser was developed by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, a government agency. With a browser and access to the Internet, you can order a pizza, listen to and purchase a CD, stroll through the Louvre, or view satellite photographs of Scotland.
Although it may get congested from time to time, the Internet itself is extremely reliable. There is not actually any one network that is the Internet; it is made up of thousands of networks that connect to each other through common routes, and they all agree to carry each other's traffic. There is a lot of money flowing up from local access providers to these national players, guaranteeing that the infrastructure will continue to expand to meet demand.
Because so many resources are shared, the Internet is also very efficient. It costs a lot less to connect a business to the Internet than to lease telephone lines that customers dial into with their modems. Most likely Internet users will continue to be charged for the size of the "pipe" connecting them to the Internet.
The number of commercial entities with an Internet presence doubled in the first three months of 1995. Modems will keep getting faster, allowing more information, better graphics, and full-motion video to be downloaded more easily. However, in five years most households will probably buy their Internet access from their cable company, who will provide them with a 10 megabit-per-second connection through their cable wire. A 10-MB connection would download in one second a file that takes a 28.8K modem five and a half minutes to download (WebTech, Inc., May 17 1995).
04.00 VIRTUAL BANKING AND APPLICATIONS
Picture a bank without any branches. No tellers. No rows of desks. no racks of brochures, no automated teller machines outside. Picture, in fact, a virtual bank, one that for the customer exists only in his or her office or home, as images on a computer screen. US financial institutions are moving towards "virtual banking." This strategy is about making bank products and services available to customers any time and any place they want them. As virtual banking becomes more popular, it is very likely that more customer service will be seen while the number of traditional teller-staffed branches will decline. Bank customers will move away from traditional banking and will become more dependent on electronic transactions using ATMs or PCs (Britt, Savings&Community Banker, February 1995, p.9).
Thanks to the revolution, financial institutions are using software programs, online services, and even the Internet to allow customers to check balances, pay bills, and transfer funds among accounts, Bankers promise that, in the near future, we will also be able to more easily buy certificates of deposit, mutual funds, and other investments, and even apply for loans electronically.
For most people, today's best option may be plug into their bank through one of three leading home-budgeting software programs: Intuit's Quicken, Microsoft Money, and Managing Your Money.
By charging $5 to $20 a month for such services, banks are sure to cash in on the high-tech superhighway. For customers, the job is made easy. All that is required is a personal computer, software and a modem. On-screen instructions, laden with colorful graphics and pictures, explain how to select and work on various tasks. The system automatically calculates and updates account balances and keeps records of bills.
A handful of banks have already set up home pages on the Internet to provide information to their existing and potential customers about upcoming services. They started their transactions. Internet banking differs from the traditional PC banking model in several ways. In most home banking ventures, the bank sends an application software program to the customer which runs on the customer's PC. The customer then dials into the bank with their modem, downloads data, and runs the programs that are resident on their computer, perhaps sending back a batch of requests such as transfers between accounts. It demands more and more space and speed from the customer's computer. With Internet banking, on the other hand, there are potential customers who already have all the software they need to do their banking, since all they need is a browser. The actual banking software resides on the bank's server in the form of their home page. This software can be updated at any moment with new information, such as new prices or products, without having to send anything to the customer; it can also continue to expand and become more sophisticated without becoming cumbersome for the customer to operate. Banking with a browser, on the other hand, involves a continuous, interactive session, initiated by a local telephone call to a local access provider or online service.
A home page in the Internet is not only a customized product tailored specifically for that bank's customers, but an advertisement for the bank as well.
Early entrants in the Internet banking market will benefit on multiple fronts. These banks will appeal to a vast new potential market who represent an attractive demographic segment: educated, professional, affluent. These new customers will save banks money because they will visit branches less frequently and will switch from paper to electronic transactions. More importantly, by developing internal expertise today, banks can position themselves to react quickly to competitive moves and consumer trends as the financial services industry evolves. These banks will see the benefits of early players and they will enjoy the public relations boost that comes from being a market leader(WebTech, Inc., May 17, 1995).
In Columbus, Ohio, Huntington Bancshares Inc. has put its stamp on the virtual bank concept with Huntington's Access, an automated branch office that's always open. The Access branch houses both traditional and advanced-function automated teller machines that use imaging technology to display deposited checks for verification and to cash a check to the nearest dollar. Also on site is the Personal Touch screen, interactive video kiosks where customers can conduct a variety of transactions. At the touch screen, customers are able to talk face to image with a customer service representative.
Banks find themselves facing a window of customer opportunity. "In a lot of their other business transactions, the retail customer in general is learning to self-serve. And, of much more importance, he or she is learning to self-sell," says George Bollenbacher, manager of strategy and business development for worldwide financial services at Unisys Corp. In short, they are ready for self-banking.
Some progressive banks already have a presence on the World Wide Web. Wells Fargo Bank of San Francisco gives customers access to current account balance information and transaction histories at its Web site Using browsers from Netscape Communications Corp. First Union Bank, in alliance with Open Market Inc. plans by year's end to offer full Web transaction services to its 10 million customers (Kay, A., Communications Week, August 14, l995, p.36-40).
05.00 SMART CARDS
Employees at Bank of America, Chemical, Wells Fargo, and other large U.S. banks use them to buy lunch and snacks. Smart cards-plastic cards with computer chips-are starting to be used for prepayment, debit, and credit purchases all over the world. In the U.S., smart cards can be only used at a contained group of machines, or for one purpose. "They are part of the broader shift to electronic delivery, to making ATMs more functional, to using PCs and the Internet to do home banking, to going to POS terminals to get cash back, to getting electronic benefits transfer off a card." says Edgar Brown, senior vice- president of alternative delivery products at First Union, Charlotte, N.C.
One of the advantage of using chips on cards with or instead of magnetic stripes is better security. Microprocessor chips are very difficult to alter or forge. Chips can carry more information than magnetic stripes can. A microprocessor chip can store up eight kilobytes of data. Smart cards make possible cheaper and faster payments. Money can be deducted from a chip without on-line authorization. This makes for a two-second transaction versus an up-to-two-minutes one, and telecommunications costs are saved (Lunt, P., ABA Banking Journal, September 1995, p.46).
Britt, P. (1995, February). Savings&Community Banker.
Humpehreys, K. (1995). Security First Network Bank. http://www.sfnb.html.
Internet Banking. (1995, May 17). WebTech, Inc. Online information.
Kay, A. (1995, August 14). Interactive Applications. Communications Week,
Lunt, P. (1995, September). ABA Banking Journal, 46.
Wells Fargo Bank. (1995, May). The Orange County Register.
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