South African banks Absa and First National Bank left their corners swinging after Thursday’s (26 January 2012) launch of the new money management service 22seven, warning customers not to give their credentials to third parties.
Absa posted a note on its Facebook page on Thursday, not only warning South Africans against 22seven, but also revealing that they will be launching their own personal financial management tool.
Michael Jordaan, CEO of FNB, also said on Thursday that 22seven is a “cool concept,” but that the “risk [is] all yours” if you disclose your password to any third party.
In response to our questions on the fraud protection FNB offers to customers that use online banking FNB said, “FNB is unlikely to reimburse losses arising from customers who have given their login and password details to a third party.”
What about “view only” profiles?
However, some South African banks let you create a different online banking profile (or “operator”) with read-only permissions on accounts.
According to FNB, this can be done on their portal under the settings tab by clicking add user and only allowing “only view” permissions to the accounts concerned.
This raises the obvious question: if you give out these read-only credentials, are you still unprotected should fraud occur on your account?
“The client is responsible for the transactions executed on the secondary profile,” FNB said. “Each fraud case would be investigated and a decision related to liability is always made on a case by case basis.”
It is understood that Absa offers similar functionality, but an Absa spokesperson said that Absa’s multiple account operators feature does in fact not support “view only” permissions.
Why the antagonism?
Considering that banks such as FNB let you create a separate profile that is unable to transact on your account, it is interesting that the message they’re blasting out only emphasises that customers shoulder the liability of fraud.
Why aren’t they also telling customers how to use services such as 22seven safely should they want to?