BNZ withdraws 'no dodgy apps' condition

Bank decides against proposed changes to internet banking rules

The BNZ bank, after attracting criticism for planned new terms and conditions for internet banking, has withdrawn the changes.

The bank had planned, starting on June 16, to impose a condition that internet banking users not download applications or open attachments from an “untrusted or unknown source” onto the phone or PC they use for internet banking and that they keep software on their phones updated to the latest version.

On that day, the bank notified Computerworld and other media of the rethink in an email that describes the reversal of its policy as streamlining. The terms and conditions are compliant with the code of banking practice issued by the Bankers’ Association and would still have been so even if the proposed extra conditions had been included, a Bankers' Association spokesman confirms. He refers Computerworld to Seection 8(c) iii of the code,which says in part that a customer may be liable for an unauthorised transaction if "you have used a computer or device that does not have appropriate protective software and operating system installed and up to date".

“We are responsive to market needs and want to make life easier for our customers so we've decided to streamline the [terms and conditions] and delete the clauses relating to ‘opening attachments, downloading applications or running software from untrusted or unknown sources’ (Clause 6.2) and "upgrading to the latest mobile software’ (Clause 6.1) wrote BNZ consultant Emily Davies.

“These changes will take effect immediately,” she adds.

ANZ-National and Westpac banks, approached by Computerworld in the days between the BNZ announcement and the reversal, denied any intention to impose stricter conditions of this kind. ASB was less definite. “ASB regularly reviews and monitors the use of its banking services and amends its terms and conditions where necessary to reflect changes to services and products,” said Michael Ramsay, acting general manager of internet banking, in an emailed statement.

ASB’s current terms and conditions do not contain clauses of the kind drafted by the BNZ.

Three years ago to the month, the Bankers Association, after a Computerworld story in 2008, withdrew from the Code clauses drafted by the banks that would have given banks the right to inspect internet banking customers’ computers for adequacy of security.

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