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Expat Investor : November 2007
So much more than just a click away Online banking facilities have become veritable lifelines for expats. We asked five leading offshore banks to describe the current state of this banking art and tease expats with a look through a window of what the future holds. ONLINE BANKING expatinvestor.com 6 EXPAT INVESTOR November 2007 Fast Facts 99004 JANE MATTHEWS, Marketing Manager, Abbey International Internet banking for Abbey International customers delivers fast and easy account operation, wherever the customer is living and at whatever time of day she or he wishes to log on. The system is intuitive and powerful, which makes it ideal for those who are new to internet banking. To help new clients decide whether it is right for them, Abbey International also has a demonstration model on its website, so potential users can get a good feel for the system before signing up. The e-banking package delivers all of the functionality and more that most users will ever need -- customers can check their balances, make payments, review direct debits, order cheque books and manage their password data. A clear and logical account display sets the Abbey International system apart from many others. Information is displayed initially in summary form to show high level key data by account type, such as interest rate, details of any maturity or notice period, and, of course, cleared balances. Users can then select the account they wish to work with to view transactions, transfer money to UK and overseas accounts and create and cancel standing orders. Whilst much of the UK may now be enjoying fast download speeds associated with Broadband, this is not always the situation elsewhere, and with customers spread all over the globe, Abbey International had to take into account the fact that many users will still only have access to ordinary dial-up facilities. As a result, pages are designed to be light and quick to access, even on the slowest connections. Fast internet may be the norm in much of Western Europe, the Middle East and Far East, but for customers in Russia and parts of Eastern Europe and much of Africa, this is often not the case. Experience will dictate where connections are likely to be problematic -- if residents have problems with the reliability of the core telephone infrastructure, it is likely that internet performance will also be poor. That said, the Abbey International system can be accessed by any system which can connect to the web, with some customers using satellite phone technology to link to their offshore account from the more remote global areas. Looking to the future, Abbey International expects more clients to use electronic and internet banking, as traditional postal and paper based systems decline. Speed of service and security are key here, and banking systems of the future are sure to use advanced security technology such as two factor authentication, a significantly more rigorous method of identifying users based on two separate pieces of identification, so making it more reliable than just password and user name.