A forward step has been made towards mobile banking following the launch of an application for the Apple iPhone by Natwest.
With a high profile media launch, Natwest introduced the free application and soon after posted a note on its website that claimed: “Due to the high volume of customers who have downloaded our iPhone app some customers are experiencing difficulties accessing the service. We apologise for any issues you're experiencing and are working to fix the problem as quickly as possible.”
The application does not permit money to be moved or bills to be paid, but it does allow users to monitor their current account with up-to-the-minute balance checks and view a mini-statement and get updates on their account.
Users have been generally positive about it, with some Twitter users claiming that they had experienced problems with registration and passwords. One user claimed that it was a great idea and looks nice, but had the worst registration process ever, and asked why it needed the date of birth to be inputted twice?
While another user said that it was ‘catastrophically bad' and that it would be ‘quicker to request a balance in writing. So far haven't been able to sign in. Drop the curiosity'.
Commenting, Simon Ford, international sales director of NCP, said this launch was always going to happen as phones are getting smarter. However he said: “The security on smartphones has not caught up to the security on a PC, a PC has a firewall but people are not doing this on a smartphone and when they log on to an unsecured WiFi network at the airport or in a hotel, they are not safe without firewall protection.
“My concern at the moment is that it is not enough security on a smartphone as there is on a PC. It is getting good on PCs as you have a firewall, anti-virus, anti-spam and a VPN tunnel host, but it is definitely not there with the smartphone.”
Ford also commented on the password security, as some iPhone applications keep the user logged in. Ford said: “What happens if the phone gets lost or stolen? I read recently that 800,000 phones get lost every year, and any hacker is going to be able to hack into the phone and get your password.”