Sunday, January 24, 2010

AT&T mobile banking iPhone application

One of the fun things of writing this blog is the right to change my mind. I have been quite critical of the Qualcomm acquisition of Firethorn in the past (read here), but a recent tit bit of information made me sit up and think. It seems that the Firethorn solution has morphed into a fully functional banking portal according to the site appletrendz (read here).

According to this website, an application for the iPhone (running on AT&T) exists (developed by Firethorn). This application allows access to thousands (yes thousands) of different financial institutions from the iPhone through the same interface. As a matter of fact, it seems as if it is possible to access more than one institutions' information on the same application at the same time. The list of features and functions available also seems to be quite extensive. The information available on this site raises a number of questions:
  • What is the business model for this service? Can it be provided in a commercially sound way and is it therefore sustainable?
  • How are the usernames and passwords secured (to allow login to all these thousands of financial institutions). My understanding is that access can be made with the AT&T six digit PIN only. Does this mean that bank login information is stored somewhere? Who is liable when this storage is compromised?
  • What is the competitive advantage of this service over the dedicated service available from each individual bank? How does the banks feel about this service? Do they see it as a threat?
Interesting implications, but well done to Firethorn.

No comments: