British banks wriggling out of their security responsibilities

If there's one thing that annoys me in the business world, it's e-services companies that try to foist the responsibility for installing IT security on their PCs on to the consumer.

A classic case of this is the British banks, who clearly have a vested interest in getting as many of us as possible to use Internet banking, and so save them serious wads of money on branches and their staff.

But what about the users' computer security?

I was in an RBS Manchester branch earlier this week, drawing some cash from the inside ATMs, rather than using the mugger-friendly outside machines (but that's another story).

I was upset to overhear a customer whose card had obviously been cloned, being fobbed off by the branch staff over her request for reimbursement.

"We'll fill the forms in and see what head office can do," said the member of staff, obliquely blaming the problem on the woman's Internet banking security - or rather, the lack of it.

The customer left the branch waiting to hear whether the bank would reimburse the money lost "as a gesture of goodwill."

British banks would do well to look at the Australian Bankers Association, which this week issued a clear `no change of liability' advisory to bank customers down under.

The watch-dog has been reviewing the Australian electronic funds transfer code, an agreement governing EFTPOS and ATM usage, as well as online and telephone banking services.

"Bank customers will continue to be protected from loss in Internet banking fraud cases," said David Bell, the ABA's chief executive.

You can't get much clearer than that. It's a crying shame that APACS and the British banks don't follow the ABA's lead on this subject...