Read-only on-line banking

I think it would be great if banks provided "read-only" access for on-line banking - a set of credentials, which can only be used to view the current state of the accounts, but which would not allow to execute any operations. The advantages of this approach are:

  • Much smaller risk when you want to check your balance from a less secure place (Internet cafe, library computer, your PDA)
  • Can be stored in accounting programs, such as Quicken, Microsoft money and so on, to retrieve statements. Currently many banks don't support those programs, since there is a considerable security risk if someone steals the login credentials
  • Can be used in special monitoring scripts, which can send you alerts if your balance goes too low or there are some unusual transactions

For banks there is obviously more headache in developing and supporting the right applications and also issuing and troubleshooting the extra credentials. Maybe they can find a good business model for the service in the end, such as small extra payment or provision only to "better" clients as an intensive.

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