To text or not to text? Five best practices to harness the benefits and mitigate the risks
If dog is man’s best friend, then the smartphone comes in at a close second. The devices are ubiquitous today and used for myriad tasks, with text messaging being among the most common—81 percent of Americans text regularly, and over 6 billion texts are sent every day in the U.S. alone. Messages aren’t limited to personal exchanges, either—89 percent of consumers want to use text messaging to communicate with businesses. In fact, texting is the No. 1 preferred customer support channel in the U.S.
What do these stats mean for financial institutions? Today’s digitally-oriented (and impatient) consumers won’t settle for the time delays associated with traditional financial communications that are conducted in person, over the phone, or by mail. In order to stay relevant and meet consumer expectations, financial institutions must expedite communications and transactions with their customers. And texting is the key.
By thoughtfully and strategically incorporating text messaging into communication plans, financial institutions can enhance engagement and develop more personal relationships with their cardholders. Let’s take a look at some of the risks involved with text messaging cardholders and best practices to give your institution a competitive edge.
While text messaging increases convenience, it also opens the door to targeted cyberattacks, which can put your cardholders and your institution at risk. One of the most common attacks is SMS phishing (also known as “SMiShing”), in which a cardholder receives a text that appears to be from their financial institution. The message creates a sense of urgency concerning the cardholder’s account (e.g., it’s locked or has been accessed by an unauthorized party) and requests that they call a toll-free number or visit a website to verify or protect their account. If the cardholder falls for the scam and provides sensitive personal and financial information to a fraudulent party, the financial institution can experience significant financial and reputational damage.
Cardholder privacy is also a concern. If contact information is not accurate and up-to-date, financial institutions can inadvertently send confidential messages to unintended recipients. Additionally, financial institutions need to be sure text messages to cardholders are in compliance with FCC TCPA Rules.
Adhering to best practices regarding text messaging about financial information can help protect your institution and your cardholders. Here are some tips to get you started:
- To encourage cardholders to opt-in to your text messaging service, explain the available options. Let them know they can choose the type of messages they would like to receive and how often.
- Let cardholders know the phone number they will receive text messages from, so they can add it to their contact list.
- Advise cardholders of SMiShing scams and remind them to beware of financial messages that do not come from your institution’s phone number.
- Make it easy for cardholders to change their messaging options or opt-out entirely, at any time.
- Implement secure messaging as an option to native SMS text.
Adding text messages to your cardholder communications plan doesn’t have to be complicated. You can start small and access secure messaging solutions like MobiMoney from Vantiv. To learn more about the best options for your financial institution, contact us.