By Amanda Morrall
It may never rival the popularity of the Da Vinci Code, but there is good reason why everyday banking customers will want to read the Code of Banking Practice.
For example: did you know that if you do not take "reasonable" steps to make sure you have appropriate security systems installed on your computer that any financial losses resulting from an internet security breach are yours alone to absorb.
Or that having a obvious pin number ( ie. 22222 or 54321) or a password that could be easily guessed (ie. street address, birth date or pet) that you're also liable for your own financial misfortunes if internet hackers or anyone else gets hold of your digits.
Read the code. It may not make for exciting bed time reading, but it could make all the difference in the event of a security breach.
The New Zealand Bankers' Association, which released an updated version of the 1992 Code on Friday, contains a number of conditions and provisos relevant to today's modern banker..
Kirk Hope, chief executive for the NZBA, said the contents of the code (covering everything from foreign exchange rates to mobile banking phone apps) were relavent to anyone with an established banking relationship.
Hope said there were four additions and updates that customers should take note of:
- mobile phone banking;
- the dispute resolution process;
- accessibility of the Code;
- focus on retail customers.
With the rise of mobile phone banking, the Code provides some guidance on how to minimise security breaches. The two main recommendations are: 1) putting a lock on your smart phone to protect confidential information if it is stolen or lost. 2) closing down any banking applications once you're done to reduce the likelihood of being phished (where a key stroke logging programme or virus burrows into your account details from another programme).
Another change relates to the advent of the dispute resolution schemes where customers can take up any complaints they might have with their bank.The dispute resolution schemes are a relatively new recourse for bank customers who previously had to rely solely on the Banking Ombudsman for any grievances they wanted addressed. Each member of the Financial Services Provider Registry is required
The third aspect of the Code relates to its accessibility in order to draw greater attention to it among customers. The 13 banks who are members of the association will post it to their websites and make hard copies available at their branches. The document is also available on the NZBA's website.
And finally the Code, through the exclusion of wholesale customers from its target audience, wants to reaffirm its focus on the retail sector.
"We're just making the code really explicit about the retail focus.''