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Expat Investor : November 2007
ONLINE BANKING expatinvestor.com 8 EXPAT INVESTOR November 2007 Continued from page 7 JULIAN GOUGE, Head of International Pe r sonal Banking, NatWest International Accessing money whilst living thousands of miles away from their bank surely has to be a necessity for any expat. Internet access is available from virtually anywhere in the world, and online banking has risen in popularity in response to the availability of the internet. However, with internet use also comes the rise of internet fraud. Recent research amongst NatWest International's own customer base (of which 40% are based abroad) to set up an account, it makes it easier for expats to manage their money. Account balances, historic transactions and payments instructed can be viewed online by use of the banks secure online message service, at any time from any location around the globe. Numerous offshore saving customers have commented on how simple the account set up process is, however Alliance & Leicester International is not complacent and intends to continue leveraging the power of the internet with additional online functionality and security plans in development. RICHARD FRAY, Channel Manager, HSBC Bank International Ninety-six percent of expats use the internet every day. What better way is there for internationally dispersed people to stay connected? The internet provides an anchor wherever they are. Central to the lives of most, if not all those living and working abroad, is their bank. To stay ahead, offshore banks must ensure they have market-leading online offers. This means effectively responding to a rapidly changing market by staying on top of trends such as online communities, as well as improving functionality and implementing state-of-the-art security developments. With customers in more than 200 countries, HSBC Bank International recognises this need more than most. The bank now provides its customers with individualised services that cater for their specialised needs. Its state-of-the-art website allows customers to do everything they'd expect to be able to do face to face such as reviewing account details and statements online, transferring funds between accounts to any bank worldwide, reading secure, personalised messages sent by the bank, paying multiple bills and setting up standing orders. The bank has long known for all customers and it is essential for banks to stay one step ahead of potential fraudsters. With this in mind, HSBC Bank International is looking at ways to reinforce its security system using 'multi-factor authentication', whereby customers are required to provide additional ways of establishing their identity, such as confirming a random number or personal details by telephone. The internet is rapidly changing the way we bank and has become a financial lifeline for expats all over the world, and HSBC Bank International will continue to lead the way for its customers through product innovation and technical expertise. AIDAN DOHERTY, Managing Director, Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander (IOM) If you had suggested ten years ago that clients of international private banks would conduct their business online -- and do so happily -- doubts would have been cast as to your sanity. But this is the position in which we find ourselves today and institutions have had to adapt accordingly. At Kaupthing Singer & have a broadband connection. We have intentionally made the structure of the site pages as lightweight as possible, thereby avoiding any unnecessary images and animations. Because of this the website will perform adequately via a basic dial- up connection. Security is of paramount importance to us and we endeavoured to remain ahead of the curve. We were the first, by a number of years, to introduce two- phase PIN based security, which provides protection against so called 'key-logging' viruses. All payments are inspected by staff and we have sophisticated pattern detection technology to flag up suspect activity. Online banking can and must develop further. The internet is very much a part of society and the advent of affordable satellite broadband means that everyone, regardless of their location, can use our internet banking. the importance of online innovation to its customers. In April 2006, HSBC Bank International was the first bank to launch an online service enabling customers to view their accounts and perform transactions while remaining in the bank's main website, www.offshore.hsbc.com. This new tool, at the forefront of retail banking, means that customers' needs are taken care of within an individually-tailored site, with pre-filled forms, personalised offers and product information being displayed alongside transactional information. Half of all broadband users log on to social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Friends Reunited. While three-quarters of those visiting online communities are aged 18-29, a third of over-50s are also taking part in this online phenomenon. HSBC Bank International is embracing this exciting trend, recognising the potential of these websites to transform the lives of those living in the expat community. The bank's Online Premier Innovation Centre, launched last November, has enabled the bank to gather views from its customers about their service requirements by providing interactive demos of new ideas and collating feedback via online surveys. This innovative approach to customer relations has led to initial tests of customer appetite for an online community where expats are able to exchange ideas and information. Another particularly popular innovation idea was a 'Virtual Vault', where customers can store scans of their personal documents, such as birth certificates, to make proving their identity easier. HSBC also tested the potential for web conferencing, enabling customers to make informed decisions about their money via online advice from specialist financial experts. "With expats spending more time on the internet," comments Richard Fr ay, the Bank's Channel Manager, "the idea of setting up a space where our customers can gather information, receive tips from advisers and talk to other people around the world made sense to us. Many of us have lived and worked abroad ourselves and understand the importance of belonging to a community. We wanted to explore developing that for our customers in a way that also helped them to manage their finances." Along with functional innovation, security is the main consideration "Ninety-six per cent of expats use the internet every day." "An initial test of customer appetite for an online community where ideas and information are exchanged. " "It is essential for banks to stay one step ahead of potential fraudsters." Friedlander (Isle of Man) we launched our own online banking service back in 2000. Our philosophy is that online banking should only be seen as an additional product or tool, one to complement our existing extensive banking service. Clients still require a personal service which they can rely on, not just for transactions but also for enquiries and information. The obvious advantage of online banking is the ability for clients to have instantaneous access to their account 24/7, combined with the knowledge that at Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander they continue to benefit from a very personalised service. Our online banking system has been designed to deliver a streamlined, easy-to-use platform that enables our international clients to perform all their banking functions 24 hours a day. It was important for us to make the system intuitive and, where possible, operations are 'one click', or the user is guided through in much the same way as one would use an iPod. A good example of this streamlining is our online payment process, which is very comprehensive and covers all types of international payments. We also have payment 'templating' functionality, where clients can save formats for regular payments, which further reduces the need to re-key information. Further innovation was required when building our platform, as our client base is made up of a mixture of private and institutional clients. Consequently, we ensured that our platform permitted multi-user authorisation and workflow management for corporate account holders; once again designed with efficiency and flexibility in mind. Streamlining the user experience can be let down if the platform is slow to respond, and we realised early on that many of our international customers may not "We have made the structure of the site pages as lightweight as possible."