EBICS mobile – any time, any place

Michael Schunk, Product Manager, PPI AG

The EBICS protocol is designed to transfer large data volumes, call up account information and authorise orders. These are the basic requirements of a treasurer and they are fulfilled by EBICS, guaranteeing the success of EBICS.

In the age of digitalisation, more and more information is provided at increasing speeds. Even EBICS must fulfil this requirement, and its response consists of mobile EBICS apps that inform the customer fast.

The speed advantage of EBICS apps is the result of two aspects:
  • Push messages
    Targeted push messages remove the need for user queries. The user is actively informed about an event, e.g. an activation or a payment receipt.
  • Independence of location
    Smartphones enable practically unlimited access to information. For example, one can submit an EBICS signature during a meeting.
The first EBICS apps contained serious defects that made them impractical to use:
  • Download
    For a file to be signed, the entire file must be downloaded. This can involve a large number of megabytes. This makes signing a chore, and the monthly download volume is quickly used up.
  • Performance
    When the account information is being called up, an XML-CAMT message first has to be parsed. The smartphone’s small CPU uses so much power for this that the battery quickly runs down. You can’t even check your e-mails while you wait because the entire capacity of the phone is being used.
  • Security
    All three EBICS keys are kept on the smartphone or on a server. If the smartphone is stolen, everything is wide open to attack. Storing the keys on the server goes against all security requirements.
Be aware of these teething problems when buying EBICS apps. There are still too many of these problems on the market.

But back to the treasurer. What do they need?
  • Current information about incoming and outgoing payments
  • Authorisation of payments
  • Active notification, e.g. for activations or expected payment receipts
The treasurer wants and needs to be informed at all times. What still seems impossible with classic EBICS customer systems will become a reality with EBICS apps. Push services actively inform the customer. If the customer is not on the move or does not want to receive any push messages, they can be informed by e-mail.

The figure shows HSH Nordbank’s new EBICS app for its corporate customers. More and more banks are using these digital options, making EBICS even more attractive.

Michael Schunk


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