Can Mobile Save Digital Banking Security?


Consumers want the same thing from their bankers that they want from their trusted retailer: a seamless, consistent, simple and safe experience regardless of the device or channel they are using.

In some ways, banks may not consider this a huge priority. Consumers have a relationship with their bank and are using mobile channels to interact with them more than ever before — an estimated 15 to 20 times per month, according to Bradi Van Noy Hays, Senior Manager of Entrust Datacard. Yet, the quality of the user experience leaves a lot to be desired. With nearly 71 percent of the banking customers using them on a transactional basis only, Van Noy Hays suggests it is time banks begin to rethink how they interact with customers in the digital world.

That’s where the notion of “Uberizing” banking starts to creep into the psyche of bankers. If they don’t start thinking that way, Mike Byrnes, Senior Product Manager at Entrust Datacard, says that there are lots of competitors who will. “Timing is critical,” emphasizes Van Noy Hays.

This is how a recent, 60-minute live digital discussion between Entrust Datacard and MPD CEO Karen Webster began. The notion of “Uberizing” banking sounds interesting, but, as Webster pointed out, is a generic term that everyone uses as the “silver bullet” that will magically turn problems into billion-dollar generating solutions. She asked Byrnes and Van Noy Hays what it means to be the “Uber” of banking anyway since being “omnichannel” is different than truly Uberizing and cutting out the “middlemen” in the traditional banking environment.

Byrnes said that the answer depends on who’s ready to go beyond “having a mobile app, and really transforming their processes – by putting mobile first.”


Nowhere is this more important, Brynes said, than in the outdated approaches that many players today bring to banking — there’s too many identities, passwords and friction. Not only are many of these authentication methods frustrating for users, but they are also insecure and surprisingly easy for cybercriminals to compromise.

According to Byrnes, the integration of next-generation trusted identities has the ability to empower banks to keep criminals out and disrupt competition, all while offering their customers improved user experiences.

“We believe there’s a way to secure access and embed that identity within the banking experience so that it almost becomes totally transparent to the end user,” Byrnes explained. With enhanced interactions and increased trust, the goal is to have the end user so “enamored” by the banking experience that they have no desire to look elsewhere.

Byrnes stated that no longer should the old notion of providing a great user experience or security (but not both) still stand. With the advancement of mobile technology and the rapid adoption of mobile by consumers, financial institutions have unique opportunities to build trusted identities within mobile applications to supply secure and enhanced digital experiences.

Despite the love affair users have with their mobile devices, studies still show that they are weary about how trusted and secure the mobile channel really is. But Byrnes explained that the fundamental architecture of these devices, which ensures every single application is sandboxed or firewalled from other mobile applications, makes these powerful and convenient tools an ideal place for trusted identity.


With the foundation of a mobile banking application and a mobile-first strategy for embedding trusted digital identities, Byrnes said financial institutions can empower with the ability to control secure access to multiple channels and safeguarded transactions, while also building out their own new and differentiated services.

Trusted identities can provide frictionless omnichannel access for banking customers to services like online banking, mobile banking, call centers, ATMs and branches. By allowing a customer to authorize or verify access via their mobile banking app, financial institutions enable their users to do away with passwords, secret questions, hardware tokens and other methods and just use what’s the device at hand to secure access to various channels.

Byrnes drew on the example of the use case for online banking, where a user can authenticate online access when attempting to sign on to their account from a computer by simply clicking or swiping confirmation on a push notification sent to their device via the mobile banking app. There’s no need for passwords or challenge questions, resulting in what Byrnes called a “very simple, very straightforward way to use that same mobile identity,” to authenticate an online banking session.

The roadmap for how trusted identities can be used to safeguard banking experiences also includes helping to protect against account takeovers, card-not-present fraud and banking trojans and malware. By leveraging the mobile device for transaction verification, trusted identities can also help to prevent unauthorized transactions before they can even be completed.

“You stop it in its tracks simply by looking at your mobile banking app and denying the transaction,” Byrnes explained.

There are also a myriad of new services and opportunities on the trusted identities blueprint for financial institutions that may help them to differentiate themselves and grow, which is critical in the burgeoning market of innovative financial services.

Allowing a customer to digitally and legally opt in for a new product or credit offer when they are unable to make it to a branch or authenticating a user on behalf of another site based on their trusted digital identity are just some examples of the potential use cases this approach provides.

From facilitating legally binding digital signatures to allowing federated identity and access to third-party sites, there are many new opportunities for banks to bring more convenience to the user experience, Byrnes noted, adding that trusted identities “provide a way forward for the bank to start leveraging to deliver new streams of revenue that didn’t even exist in their business model before.”

Embarking on a trusted identity strategy is a path that Byrnes said can allow financial institutions to really bring that needed security, while still maintaining a very transparent and frictionless impact to the end user.

“The net result, if you do it right, is delight,” he continued. “It’s really a customer experience that is not only very convenient, quick and powerful, but at the same time one that builds trust and over time can help your customers to actually feel that their digital banking experience is perhaps even more secure than a card-based or in-person transaction.”

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Bradi Van Noy Hays, Senior Manager of Entrust Datacard

Bradi has spent the last 10 years in the security industry managing marketing on a global scale. Her drive is to help others understand the importance of security, whether consumer, CIO or business owner.

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Mike Byrnes, Senior Product Manager at Entrust Datacard

Mike Byrnes, Senior Product Manager at Entrust Datacard, leads market development for the IdentityGuard Authentication platform. Byrnes has 20 years’ experience in product management and technology marketing with a focus on identity-based security, mobile and cloud computing. Prior to Entrust, Mike has held a series of marketing leadership roles with CloudLink Technologies, Mitel and Nortel Networks.

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Karen Webster, CEO of Market Platform Dynamics

Karen Webster is one of the world’s leading experts on payments, commerce and retail innovation and a strategic advisor to CEOs and Boards of multinational players in those sectors. As CEO of Market Platform Dynamics, she works extensively with the most innovative players in the payments, financial services, mobile, retail, B2B, digital media and technology sectors to help them maximize the value of their platform assets, design disruptive new business models and ignite and monetize new innovation. Karen also serves as a member of the advisory board for several emerging companies.