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A year of successful mobile banking

End-point security performs a risk-based assessment of the customer’s smartphone each time BOV Mobile is used.

End-point security performs a risk-based assessment of the customer’s smartphone each time BOV Mobile is used.

In just one year, BOV Mobile, the mobile banking service for smartphones introduced by Bank of Valletta, has attracted more than 11,500 customers who have collectively used their phones more than half a million times to make payments, transfer funds and to monitor their accounts.

“We view mobile banking as a natural extension of our overall channel strategy. Mobile combines the best features of online banking, the convenience of an ATM, and the responsiveness of text messaging all in the palm of your hand,” chief operations officer Michael Galea said.

Transfer of money between accounts is the most common type of transaction on BOV Mobile, followed by mobile payments; 54 per cent of the BOV Mobile install base is on Android devices, with the remaining 46 per cent on Apple’s iOS devices.

This is the first smartphone app of its kind launched by a bank in Malta. It is available on both iOS-based and Android-based smartphones and tablets, and can be accessed both locally and abroad using either 3G or Wi-Fi. It is available free for download from the Apple App Store and from Google Play (the Android app market).

“We see BOV Mobile customers using the BOV Mobile service much more frequently than customers using internet banking – this is undoubtedly a result of the convenience offered by the mobile channel,” a bank spokesman added. “Usage of internet banking continues to grow, as at the time of writing, at approximately the same rate as mobile banking.”

The success of the bank’s mobile services suggests that the Maltese are not as afraid of effecting financial transactions online as they used to be. However, this can be also attributed to the commitment to provide as secure a service as possible. The bank spokesman explained how BOV Mobile uses multiple, layered, security mechanisms to protect customers against malware and unauthorised use. To increase the robustness of the security mechanisms, BOV Mobile uses security solutions provided by different vendors. Two of the vendors are considered to be leaders in their respective field by Gartner consultants.

Besides encryption and certificates based authentication, BOV Mobile offers the added benefit of end-point security, as it comes equipped with BOV Protect by Trusteer, the cybercrime specialists. This end-point security performs a risk-based assessment of the customer’s smartphone each time BOV Mobile is used, and will permanently block the BOV Mobile service if it detects financial malware or viruses on the device.

“The whole list of security features behind BOV Mobile is outside the scope of this article, however, it is these robust multiple lines of defence that work together as a whole that makes BOV Mobile safe and secure,” the bank’s spokesman explained.

BOV Mobile is already an internationally recognised success, having won the prestigious Financial Innovation award from the IFS UK last year and an eBusiness Award by the Malta Communications Authority.

As part of the celebrations marking the first anniversary of BOV Mobile, Bank of Valletta said it will soon be launching new enhancements on its mobile banking service. These enhancements are designed to increase the versatility and usefulness of mobile payments for both personal and business customers.

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