Have really enjoyed following the TechCrunch40 coverage on TechCrunch (which has made me realise for one, that we need to do a much better job of covering our own events like our recent Influence Forum).
And I couldn’t have agreed more with the decision to give Mint, the grand-winner prize. It’s a hugely impressive application and that’s even without being able to properly test it out because I couldn’t import any of my Australian bank accounts.
However, a lot of the comments on the TechCrunch website point out that you’d be crazy to hand over all of your online banking passwords to a Web 2.0 site. I’m ultra relaxed about such things – maybe I’ve just led a charmed life and I’ll get bitten in the bum one day – but even this gave me pause for thought. If you were a hacker, this would be the greatest hacking target you could possibly think of. And experience has shown that where there’s a will, there’s a hack.
In Australia, we just had a big credit card hack case with an online retailer called Roses Only being the victim.
A few of the TechCrunch comments suggested banks should ban such financial aggregators as Mint but I can’t see that happening, nor should it. However, banks should probably started thinking about this because if applications like Mint take off, it’s certain to cause problems somewhere, sometime down the track.
What banks need to do is have two levels of access. One for the user of the account which enables them to do transactions and so-forth and another level of access for applications like Mint, which allow access to a user’s financial records but doesn’t enable them to make any transactions and is accessed with a different password.
I’m quite confident Mint is going to be a monster success and I can see a plethora of copycats hitting the market. Banks need to be planning to work these applications without forcing user’s to give up details to full-access to their accounts.