Smartphone cash withdrawals set to fight card fraud

JC Torres - Mar 16, 2015, 7:10 am CDT
Smartphone cash withdrawals set to fight card fraud

Technologies like LoopPay, which tries to combine traditional payment methods or equipment with more current smartphone technology, is inspiring people to take a second look at the whole mobile payment proposal. The next big movement might come from ATM withdrawals. BMO Harris Bank, a unit of Canada’s Bank of Montreal, will try to do just that in the US, allowing users to make cash withdrawals without even having to put in a card. All they need is their smartphone and, of course, an app.

Using smartphones to make ATM withdrawals isn’t just a mater of convenience. It is also one of security. Card fraud and “skimming” are the most common ways for criminals to get easy money, and they are, unsurprisingly prevalent in the US, where cash still has a foothold over more technology-oriented payment solutions.

Though it may sound scary, especially for those new to the whole smartphone things, BMO Harris Bank believes that the security protection it brings are well worth it. You have one less card to worry about, for one. Initiating the cash withdrawal process, which can start even before you get anywhere near the machine, will require users to login to their bank’s app and it will authenticate users based on the specific “fingerprint” of the device. On the ATM itself, a QR Code will be displayed to for users to scan to confirm the transaction. Once all that is done, the metadata about the transaction is completely wiped off and cannot be reused.

Of course, there will always be worries about the security of the system itself, given recent news, or misinformation, about hacking incidents. That said, mobile payments, especially done over smartphones, are becoming popular. And even in smartphone-enabled transactions, BMO Harris Bank is definitely not alone, but it might be one of the biggest cardless ATM networks to hit the country.

And it might even take things a bit further. It will also be opening its first “smart branch” bank, where customers will transact with remote tellers via video chats. Pretty much like directory assistance services, this could mean 24/7 banking, as the tellers need not even be located on the same timezone. Four other smart branches are planned, all in Chicago, though it is left to be seen whether this idea will even fly, given the public’s less than trusting outlook.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal

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