Security On Small Screens

USAA is laser focused on security. It’s a tenant of its military history.

So, when it came time to update its smartphone app to include a feature that makes p-to-p payments through a user’s contact list, they made one point clear: They are not sharing.

Even USAA Federal Savings Bank, one of the most aggressive in its use of technology, is treading carefully in social media and mobile, where the slightest privacy snafu can spark a major outcry.

One of the most controversial smartphone features is the devices’ ability to access a user’s stored contacts. Though this feature is seemingly useful for things like social media and person-to-person payments, consumers are resisting it because it gives a third party access to their personal information.

To make use of a phone’s stored contacts, an app can send the contact list to a server controlled by the application’s creator. Several companies, including Path, Twitter and Instagram, drew complaints from users when this practice was revealed. In February, Apple (AAPL) updated its policies to require that app developers disclose to users how they use contact-list data.

You can read the rest of my @AmerBanker story, here.

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