Third is a series of passwords and personal information chosen by the customer. On top of this they guarantee customers that if they are victims of fraudulent activity on their Egg accounts, any losses are covered in full. "This has never happened," says Andrew. "There has never been any breach of internet security." ("- -- : Safety Net for" 2001:44)
Again internet and bank security are largely overexagertated yet they are occurring more frequently all banks and many other institutions are taking daily active precautions to reduce risk to customers and they are largely successful in doing so Electronic banking can take many forms. A recent trend that is a direct threat to banks is the development of e-money which takes the jurisdiction of stored financial value away from banks. The trend is growing as an alternative way in which to do online commerce transactions without utilizing bank systems including credit and debit cards and other forms of bank payment options. The user receives a voucher of sorts in an email and is then able to spend the money electronically. Service sites like Paypal and others support this venue even by going as far as to create Paypal debit cards which are issued by Paypal, can be used in most ATMs or retailers that take debit payments and reportedly get you the money faster than their free service which deposits the funds in a previously agreed upon bank account, but can take up to a week to process. The conception of this service by PayPal and other services like Paypal was developed to bypass banking and offer services to people who for one reason or another do not have a traditional bank account or wish not to use one to make purchases or receive payments via the internet. (Harper and Chan 2003:46) To some degree these services offer a service that is needed as there is a trend that demonstrates that many individuals do not for various reasons have a bank account or one that allows a debit card and that these customers would still need to access ebanking and ecommerce functions offered via the internet. Those individuals associated with the financial limbo that is involved in not having a legitimate bank account are often forced to use what are thought of as fringe lenders or predatory lenders, cheque cashing fee services, payday lenders and other not necessarily positive service providers to do personal business and internet services such as Paypal are fundamentally more cost effective. (Buckland, Hamilton and Reimer 2006:109)
Electronic banking technologies have proliferated in recent years, and the availability of a wide range of products has led to increasing adoption among consumers. These technologies include direct deposit, computer banking, stored value cards, and debit cards. Banks and other financial institutions have worked hard to develop and deploy these technologies because of their potential to increase efficiency, cut costs, and attract new customers. Consumers are attracted to these technologies because of convenience, increasing ease of use, and, in some instances, cost savings (Anguelov et al. 2004). Electronic banking, in particular, has grown at impressive rates. Between 1995 and 2003, e-banking increased eightfold (Hogarth and Anguelov 2004). Between late 2002 and early 2005, use of online banking increased 47%. There is some evidence that computer banking is associated with better household financial management (Hogarth and Anguelov 2004). However, financial literacy, the digital divide, and other issues that separate disadvantaged groups from the financial mainstream make it difficult for low- and moderate-income (LMI) individuals to reap the potential benefits associated with computer banking. (Servon and Kaestner 2008:271)
Sevon and Kaestner go on to stress that concurrent internet technology proliferation and ebanking and other commerce leaves those individuals already challenged by the digital divide, i.e. lacking technology knowledge and access further behind and further out of the loop with regard to money management. These individuals are then forced to either use other services or obtain ebank services in some form or another. Paypal and other payment for service sites have responded to this need, and some would say more rapidly than retail banks to support and retain this entirely new customer base, who find ebanking a necessity to personal financial sustainability and development. In turn retail and internet banks are also seeking this customer base as part of their market share. (Servon and Kaestner 2008:271)
Internationally, the ebanking trend is on the rise, again often concurrent with online and wireless technology infrastructural growth and development. Growth trend for bank offerings of internet banking in 2002 demonstrates the growth trend of ebanking internationally. More recent trends in ebanking proliferation would clearly put many of these nations and their banks at the 100% mark as the trend growth since 2002 has been substantial. Yet, this graph does show again that ecommerce and internet dependence and usage rates correlate almost directly to ebanking trends and offerings. With this growth of offerings by various banks individual options offered by each bank has both streamlined and diversified and customer access has increased concurrently.
Harper and Chan stress that banks who are successful or who will be successful in the future are focused on innovation in the area of internet communications technology. As these banks respond to the massive changes in technology and customer usage they must center their focus on innovation and continued expansion of known and projected customer wants and needs. Harper and Chan provide a short list of possible areas of serious inquiry on the part of banks to ensure a competitive edge in change and market share:
Advances in ICT have profoundly altered the banking business. This is not surprising given that banking is an information-intensive industry. Technology has enabled banks to innovate in a range of areas, including products, distribution channels, organizational structures, internal processes, and customer relations management. These changes create both new threats and new opportunities. In particular, technology has increased the competitiveness of banking as an industry, not least because it facilitates comparison-shopping and the entry of new providers. Some areas in which technology is changing the face of banking include:
• Automation/computerization of standard transactions; for example, -- automating payment services, thus reducing the need for paper checks, paper records, and bricks-and-mortar branches; -- standardizing credit analyses for loan applications. (Harper and Chan 2003:36)
Within these two examples above are offered a whole set of new challenges and opportunities for both banks and customers as they seek to maintain a balance between providing a competitive service that is easy to use and well utilized and producing reasonable restrictions on standards that meet the needs of the desired customer. Harper and Chan then move on to discuss some of the ways that information technology has changed the actual running of the bank:
• Decentralization of back-office support -- modern communications networks allow back-office support and operations (including call centers) to be located at a distance from retail points of delivery (sometimes even offshore). (Harper and Chan 2003:36)
These changes focus on the need for banks to develop systems that respond to internal and external electronic communication volumes, and also speak secondarily of the fact that many of these services are being provided globally and are therefore a part of the ever expanding global market. Harper and Chan then move on to discuss the growing sense of customer related changes in delivery of service and customization, which form many banks is seen as a challenge but for many customers is seen as a foundational reason for utilizing electronic banking services. With the reduction of hard copy information and the switch to electronic records and integration customers have a wider variety of account options and integrated account functions. This as well as the last two bulleted items are probably the most significant customer needs-based changes that have effected banking:
• Creating value for customers -- integrating different types of financial accounts -- across multiple vendors, checking and mortgage accounts, car loans, mutual funds, and so on; -- customizing products to specific needs and circumstances; -- improving service times and sales capabilities (e.g., cross-selling).
• Making payments -- facilitating customer-initiated electronic payments; -- creating digital cash.
• Customer information and data-mining systems -- improving services to existing customers or bundling information for sale to other players. (Harper and Chan 2003:36)
Harper and Chan have therefore developed a relatively comprehensive and detailed list of the standards and changes that have taken place in banking and for the most part all of them meet the duel needs of better customer service and more functional knowledge of customer usage patterns and needs. There is some challenge to the idea that branch offerings are less needed, as this is a contradiction offered by some researchers who claim that retail centers are still desired by the customer for some of their banking needs.