Banking: Unprecedented convenience brings unprecedented responsibility

The Reserve Bank Governor is spot on when he says that Indian banking is in the midst of a revolution. The Unified Payment Interface (UPI) launched yesterday is nothing short of revolutionary.

Mobile banking so far has been about doing a few things with your bank account using your mobile phone. It is largely restricted to the bank in which you have your account. UPI now takes it to a new level – it cuts across banks. You can now have a single identifier that can be used across all banks.

The positives are many, as can be gleaned from today’s business newspapers. It can potentially replace digital wallets that impose boundaries on where you can use them. Paytm, for instance, can be used to pay for Uber rides, but not Ola. UPI, once rolled out, will enable you to make mobile-based payments for virtually anything.

But along with this unprecedented convenience comes unprecedented responsibility.

Until a few years ago, your physical signature was your identifier. The advantage was that it couldn’t be ‘stolen’ from you. Yes, a forger could duplicate your signature, but that called for uncommon forging skills. Unfortunately in the digital era, your digital signature can be stolen and replicated if you happen to be careless. And money can vanish in seconds.

Access to our mobile numbers and emails are rapidly taking on a central role in our digital ids, for that is what financial institutions use to validate our identities. Be careless about these, and you will leave yourself open to unprecedented levels of fraud.

One would do well to understand the risks that come with UPI, as there are any number of ways to steal your digital identity. Make sure that you know your way about before jumping headlong into UPI.

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About RV Raman

Novelist | Corporate Advisor | Visiting Professor

Posted on April 12, 2016, in Author Post and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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