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How Your Bank is Using Text Messaging

The introduction of online banking marked an important step for banks into the 21st century; being able to access account information rapidly and remotely is a boon to the modern person. But more and more, online access isn't cutting it; web pages are often less accessible on the go, or less user-friendly on smart phones. Many banks have made these services more accessible by developing banking apps, but what about when Internet or data access falter? Text banking offers a quick, easy, and readily available solution.

Text banking, or SMS banking, operates similarly to many automated text messaging services. Users can text certain codes that correspond to particular account information to a designated number, and in response receive a text with the requested information. Text banking allows users to quickly access basic information such as account balances, credit card balances, ATM locations, and recent transactions anywhere and anytime using only SMS.

SMS banking also affords users the ability not only to access information, but to perform basic banking functions via text message, such as authorizing transfers between accounts and adding new accounts to text banking. So, text banking users can even modify their accounts and take basic action remotely and exclusively through text. Of course, not all functions can be accessed via text, due to their complexity and to security concerns.

Even among the features commonly offered by text banking, many customers worry about security. After all, accessing sensitive content such as bank information on the go can allow more onlookers to see private details than in the security of a bank or online in the privacy of home. Those less comfortable with the relocation of much of modern life to technology such as mobile phones may also simply feel less secure receiving and transmitting private information via text message due to a lack of comfort with such an unconventional and new medium for banking.

Many banks that offer SMS banking have taken measures to prevent security threats in text banking. Customers who use text banking, for instance, are often assigned a special PIN they must text in before they can request any banking information or make any changes to their accounts. Additionally, users are sometimes asked to assign names to their bank accounts, so that they can use a code name instead of a full account number while SMS banking.

Banks have also found other ways to use SMS to increase security. For example, customers at many banks can opt in to receive text messages when their account balance drops below a certain point, a more convenient, and perhaps more efficient, alternative to receiving phone call or email alerts. The same can be done for large payments, payments in other states or countries, or any other suspect transactions.

While banks have yet to take all the functions of a physical bank to SMS, text banking has rapidly taken on a rich and productive life of its own, bringing many essential banking functions to a customer's fingertips. Banking more and more grows into a robust example of the power of text messaging to make everyday tasks both more efficient and convenient.

About the Author -
Sharon Housley is the VP of Marketing for NotePage, Inc. a software company for communication software solutions. http://www.notepage.net

 


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