EMV is Here: Tips & Tricks You Need to Know

October 7, 2015
/   Insights

The EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) shift went into effect on October 1, 2015 and a majority of large retailers and merchants have upgraded POS terminals to accept EMV chip cards. Despite this new mandate,...

FI Highlight: BankMobile

October 2, 2015
/   Spotlight

Financial institutions that aren’t developing and catering to the wants and needs of younger demographics are missing out on huge opportunities for growth. Luvleen Sidhu, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at BankMobile, spoke with...

EMV Liability Shift: Are You Ready?

September 28, 2015

The talking is nearly over for the US payments industry as October 1st sees the all-important EMV liability shift. Chip cards are being issued to consumers and merchants are upgrading their point of sale...

The 5 Most Dangerous Mobile Banking Habits

September 14, 2015
/   Voices

Mobile banking grows more ubiquitous every year. 52 percent of smartphone owners with a bank account use mobile banking, according to the Federal Reserve, and more than half of users log in at least...

The Case for CSR

September 7, 2015

The demise of a New York City law shouldn’t stop good works

FI Highlight: Nusenda Credit Union

September 1, 2015
/   Spotlight

While it is important for banks and credit unions to consider the needs of consumers, it’s also important for FIs to take employee needs into consideration as well. Michelle Dearholt, SVP of Human Resources at Nusenda...

Is a .bank Domain Right for Your Bank?

August 28, 2015
/   Voices

With the general availability of the .bank registry under way, more than 5,500 applications from over 2,200 banks have already taken place, according to fTLD Registry Services.

Can Smartphones Solve ATM Skimming

/   Insights

ATM skimming remains a big business for organized crime rings. According to a recent article in ATMMarketplace.com, card skimming accounted for more than $2 billion in losses. One new approach that banks are exploring...

Cause and Effect: If you build it, will they come?

July 23, 2014
/   Spotlight

Many financial institutions assume that digital banking is lucrative because the most valuable customers happen to bank online. While there is certainly a correlation between online bankers and higher profitability, quantitative evidence suggests that...

Fast Facts: Student Loans

January 22, 2013
/   Insights

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of its Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. Topics span TARP, Dodd-Frank, insurance, lending, retirement savings and more.  Below are some updated Fast...

Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services

April 11, 2011
/   Insights

Today, Intuit released the latest edition of the Intuit 2020 report, Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services, which identifies and examines four key trend areas that will  transform the financial services industry...

The Top 10 Trends in the Digital Banking Industry

December 18, 2013
/   Spotlight

2014 is rapidly approaching and as the year wraps, the Digital Insight team has pulled together the top 10 trends in the digital banking industry based on data and trends from studying financial institutions....

Making Banking Fun: Gamification in Financial Services

August 5, 2013
/   Insights

Recently, the Banking.com team sat in on American Banker’s webinar, “Gamification in Financial Services: Five Proven Ways to Get an Edge,” which shared how leading brands in financial services have applied gamification to reach...

Small Business: Perception vs. Reality

November 21, 2012
/   Insights

In the most recent election cycle, like most others before it, the one sector of the economy that got the most attention was small business.  This is the future, we were told by every...

Technology M&As: The Beats Go On

May 29, 2014
/   Insights

The ongoing fascination with Apple’s $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics is entirely understandable, because it’s a cool story. However, it also says a lot about what’s going on between finance and tech.

What We’re Reading

May 5, 2011
/   Spotlight

Below are interesting stories the Banking.com staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below. Virtual Banking Worlds Provide Tangible Lessons American...

What We’re Reading: Thanksgiving Edition

November 22, 2012
/   Spotlight

Below are interesting stories the Banking.com staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below or Tweet @bankingdotcom. Mobile Thursday? Plans for Thanksgiving...

The level of hype surrounding wearable technology almost seems undeserved, particularly given the relative lack of adoption. Sure, there are cool new devices emerging on a regular basis, the early adopters are like kids in a candy store, and it’s already had a big effect in activities like fitness. But for a discipline that’s actually been around for quite a while—an eternity in tech time—it’s surprising how few people have embraced the new capabilities.

In this context, here’s a new twist: What if you had no choice but to wear one or more of these devices all the time? What if avoiding them put you and your family in financial peril?

Yes, it’s a valid concern. In fact, it’s likely to become more valid as these capabilities become more widespread.

Here’s the reality: Many of these devices serve up an astonishing amount of personal data, particularly related to health issues. While consumers like knowing how much they walk or how many calories arrived via that burger-and-fries combo, those same devices also monitor blood pressure, heart rate, exercise routines, sleep patterns and so on. Some gadgets can even detect health conditions such as diabetes and glaucoma, and of course, how those diseases are being treated.

However, doctors and their patients are not the only ones interested in those details. So are insurers.

The insurance industry obviously wants to gather every bit of information on an individual before offering a policy. Many offer discounts for transitioning toward a healthier lifestyle, and they want proof of that happening. Now, since they can get all this information in practically real time, why wouldn’t they make it a pre-requisite?

The topic is already generating considerable debate in Switzerland, home to many trends in insurance. Hanspeter Thür, the nation’s official data protection commissioner, recently attended a panel discussion on the new capabilities emerging through the adoption of wearable technologies, and used the occasion to sound the alarm on potential abuse (if it can even be called that). He warned that if this trend continues, it could potentially lead to discrimination against those who opt against wearables.

Nothing says ‘futuristic’ like individuals clad in computers, and we’ve all seen these scenarios play out in movies. But this is real, and it’s now—if individuals refuse on principle to wear devices that send out every kind of health information to their insurers, could those companies then refuse to grant health or life insurance policies?

What we now call HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) was supposed to cover all this, and indeed a core component of the sweeping legislation did establish national standards for electronic health care transactions. That’s great, but this was back in 1996, when the Internet had just entered the mainstream and even having a website seemed like a novelty. This is a very different world we’re in now.

It’s easy to see the merit in both arguments. It seems downright cruel to force people to constantly wear a bracelet or hook themselves up every night to health-tracking devices, just so that very private information can be sent out to faceless monitors at locations around the world working for giant insurance corporations. At the same time, it’s understandable that those companies want all the information they can get when making decisions on what kind of health and life insurance policies to offer.

New technologies often pose this kind of risk—we get more capabilities but give up more privacy in the process. Many mobile apps, for example, quite legally acquire information on our daily habits: what we search for, who we communicate with, how we make buying decisions. Wearable technologies simply lead us further down that road.

The real question is what we can do about it. One obvious answer is for the government to step in, and if HIPAA already seems burdensome, imagine what more regulations covering all the new capabilities will look like. On the other hand, it’s always possible that industry associations—both on the technology and insurance sides—will come together to create comprehensive standards that make sense for all parties. Any takers?



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Compelling voices and contributed content from around the web

James W. Gabberty

Gabberty is a professor of information systems at Pace University in New York City. An alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York University Polytechnic Institute, he has served as an expert witness in telecommunication and information security at the federal and state levels and holds numerous certifications from SANS & ISACA.

Brad Strothkamp


Marisa Mann

Marisa Mann brings over 15 years of experience in consulting and financial services industries to the Solstice team, working on large scale enterprise initiatives across many technologies, including specializing in the digital space – Internet and mobile. Mann is passionate about mobile and the endless possibilities for the enterprise, delivering business value through strong brand recognition and driving to excellence in the consumer experience. Prior to Solstice, Mann worked at JP Morgan Chase, Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, Washington Mutual, Inc, and Accenture.

Zachary Ehrlich

25-year-old writer, and as a native San Franciscan, I am unreasonably loyal to Bank of America, if only for their superhero-like origin story, involving the 1906 earthquake and Italian fruit vendors.