Business Banking: When It's Secure, Your Business is Safer

In a world that’s moving to internet and mobile banking, same-day automated clearing house (ACH) payments and faster payments processing, businesses increasingly are at risk of financial fraud. In its 2018 report on fraud and abuse, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) said that U.S. businesses are estimated to lose an average of 5% of their gross revenues to fraud. Small business fraud ranked higher in frequency—at 28%—compared to 22 to 26% at larger organizations.

How can you combat the risk of having your financial data exposed and exploited—especially if you're running a small business more or less on your own? You've got to do everything from getting customers to keeping track of business finances, or else you may not realize your dream of growing the company. There is a way to make business easier, think about it from the perspective of a typical work week:

Secure Access: John, a small business owner of a construction company, is up early, getting ready for multiple on-site calls to prospective customers. He has his eye on the end of the day, when he accesses his account information online.

Thankfully, he’ll be protected by the highest standards of encryption—his financial information will be turned into an indiscernible coded message that cannot be read even if it’s intercepted during transmission.

Secure Digital Payments: John has a recurring rental payment for a key piece of equipment. He had been using paper checks for this expense because he’d been concerned about the possibility that his company could become the victim of ACH fraud if a hacker got his hand on the business' account number and password information.

Then he discovered that his banking institution's authorization services let him determine who has access to his account and to what dollar limit they may post transactions against his funds. Added security layers include capabilities such as one-time passcodes: When his bank notes an abnormal transaction, it will trigger a request that sends him a one-time passcode via text message that he can use to further identify himself before an ACH transaction is completed.

Secure Check Payments: When John proposed making payment to a new supplier using the ACH process, he learned that it doesn’t yet accept these payments and prefers paper checks.

So John takes advantage of his bank’s fraud-fighting reconciliation service. Each day that his company issues checks, his bank receives an electronically delivered file with information—such as their serial numbers and dollar amounts. The bank compares the issuance file to the checks that were presented for payment from his company and, through its online banking system, it reports back any checks that don’t match to him. John can review these suspect items and direct the bank whether to pay or return them.

Secure Deposits: John is proud to add another customer win to his list today. He’s got check in hand as he leaves the client’s home – but also has a bunch of stops to make. There won’t be time to stop at the bank to deposit the check and keep cash flow running smoothly.

John has access to an Electronic Deposit Manager (EDM) to scan the check and deposit it quickly and accurately. Among the benefits of EDM is that he has 24/7 access to the data and scanned images, so he can track the origins of checks in his reports and exports. That adds up to retaining in-house control over deposits and help with mitigating check fraud risk.

Secure Reports: When John wants to sit down and do a thorough review of all his account information—to organize cash, payables and receivables, and to produce reports—his bank lets him get up-to-the minute information on all fronts from a single location. That includes the ability to seamlessly take stock of the steps he’s taken that week — such as originating stop payments—that he knows have helped him reduce the chances of fraud. He can put up his weary feet and rest—for at least a little while.

The knowledge John has gained by working with a banking partner that fully understands his business is priceless. Now, John can stay focused on growth, knowing that the financial institution he has entrusted with his business banking is there to help fortify payment services.

The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Fifth Third Bank and are solely the opinions of the author. This article is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute the rendering of legal, accounting, or other professional services by Fifth Third Bank, National Association or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates, and are provided without any warranty whatsoever. Deposit and credit products provided by Fifth Third Bank.