Monday 21 August 2006

Email Cryptography Helps Avoid Bad Debts

If a credit card company were to send statements by email, it might be able to identify which of its customers are getting into financial difficulties. That's the interesting claim made by email encryption company Identum.

The argument goes like this: when card issuers send paper statements to people, they're usually opened quickly. However, when people are getting into financial trouble, they often go into denial. This causes them to ignore card statements, putting them in a pile somewhere, unopened.

What if the card issuer had some way of knowing that statements were going unread? That would be an early warning that there's a problem. This of course relies on card issuers having two important capabilities:

  • A secure way of emailing sending statements to customers
  • A reliable way of getting read receipts back
But what about online banking? Wouldn't people prefer to just read their statements online? Some would, but others seem to prefer to have statements "pushed" to them in email.

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