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Cyberbanking benefits and threats are real

I have never been comfortable about online banking, perhaps mainly because of the risks that come with it as what have been reported through the news, plus the general unease that comes with knowing that you’re dealing with something that is profoundly more complex than it seems.

Yet, banking in the digital world is something that cannot be held back as more institutions, businesses, and people realize the many precious benefits that come with it as long as security procedures and measures are religiously observed.

That is not to say that there will be no victims, even among the most vigilant of them. All who rely on online financial transactions have been more aware of the need to establish better security protocols to protect their money against the growing sophistication of criminal minds.

On the personal banking level, banks have thankfully learned that they need to be more pro-active against skimming devices that have been deviously installed in their automated teller machines. Banks also urge their individual clients to use stronger passwords, and to change them on a regular basis.

For business-to-business dealings, the security protocols understandably become more complex. The lessons reaped from past lapses have been too painful, not just because of the money lost, but the more costly damage to the brand reputations of those involved.

Work in progress

Security is still the biggest challenge for online banking, and putting in place the best safeguards continues to be a work in progress. Our own central bank has not been remiss in reminding those under its regulatory wing to strengthen their respective digital banking processes.

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This is why the cybersecurity business is booming, and we see the employment of the chief information officers in more companies. At this point in time, it would seem that the cost of all these still makes business sense to companies in terms of savings in infrastructure, people and time.

As one banker had succinctly said, all the cost of upgrades, mainframes, and software is still a small manageable fraction of big bank’s operating expense. Now you know why small banks are losing out to the big boys.

Price of convenience

For people, the benefits of doing online banking are the savings and conveniences offered. Imagine not having to regularly step out of the house to pay bills, or to arrange for week-long overseas vacation trips without the fuss.

Still, with all the security issues cropping up, we get so many reminders on how to keep our money safe. Some can be quite expensive (have a regularly updated anti-virus service and personal firewall) and tedious (change your password preferably every two months).

I guess such is the price one has to pay for all the conveniences we have come to value. As long as the benefits outweigh the cost, digital banking wins.

In this era of continued attacks on online banking, my advice is to go win-win. Keep your online banking money separate and limited from the rest that are not used for digital transactions. That way, you can sleep better at night.

Local parts for new jeepneys

In our previous column last week, we gave space to Raymond G. Tumao, one of our readers, who shared his views on the government’s jeepney modernization program. We continue with his Caribou plan, a sort of cooperative hybrid that would address perceived weaknesses of the plan that the Department of Transportation will adopt. Read on.

“The new replacement jeepney shall be manufactured locally using as much local parts as possible. The actual price of each model should be P850,000 for the 32-pax (capacity) and P750,000 for the 20-pax (capacity). The new types of vehicle shall have a useful life of 400,000 to 600,000 kms, after which the models shall be modernized according to the times and needs. 

“The vehicles shall be maintained solely by an after-sales service team, including a research and development team, that will constantly do research in auto and fuel modernization schemes while awaiting further discoveries in alternative energy.”

“An example of a crucial part that makes the vehicles inexpensive to the operators and maintenance team is the all-around bumper. It will be made of used tires, which as of today, poses a disposal problem for operator.

“Another part is the use of bamboo as flooring, or resin-coated nipa as roof materials. The parts and subcomponents, except the engine and power train, shall all be locally manufactured and the MVPMAP shall be given the chance to participate, instead of waiting for orders from manufacturers in Thailand.” 

“The primary objective of Caribou is to lessen the importance of importation by developing parts using our own indigenous materials like coconut husk, carabao hide and even pig skin.

“The most important part in this solution is the demographic stats being used by the transport sectors. Even if the price of the new vehicles are inexpensive, it should not be given to the drivers as a ‘forced loan.’

“The public should know that many local banks would agree to finance the vehicles because they are talking to a company instead of dealing with the drivers or operators directly.

“The business plan I mentioned shall include a payment scheme that will make the local bankers and service providers like the magnetic card producers co-productive, meaning the public pays for their fare and other consumables using the E-card, while the bankers are guaranteed payment for the vehicles that they have financed.

“So now, where does this grant come in? My suggestion is to make this new transport scheme tax-free for the first five years. If the government needs the taxes, they might as well use this grant to pay it until such time that the new Pasig River taxis and theme park-sized cable cars appear in Metro Manila.” 

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We are actively using two social networking websites to reach out more often and even interact with and engage our readers, friends and colleagues in the various areas of interest that I tackle in my column. Please like us at www.facebook.com and follow us at www.twitter.com/ReyGamboa.

Should you wish to share any insights, write me at Link Edge, 25th; Floor, 139 Corporate Center, Valero Street, Salcedo Village, 1227 Makati City. Or e-mail me at reydgamboa@yahoo.com. For a compilation of previous articles, visit www.BizlinksPhilippines.net.

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