Thursday, 4 December 2008

Following interest rates..

So today the Bank of England lowered the base interest rate to the lowest for 57 years to just 2%.  While this makes life a little better for borrowers, it presents savers with a problem.  Commentators on TV today were recommending that savers faced with lower rates of return than in recent times should shop around and simply move their funds to the banks that offer the best rate for their savings.  This is fine in principle.  But actually there is much inertia to this apparent flexibility.  If you bank online, you really don't want yet another set of login credentials for yet another organisation, everytime you want to move banks.  Indeed this may involve having one time authentication pads or similar devices nowadays.  

People have enough credentials to look after for online services without introducing more just to move money around.  And this is likely to be relatively short term, as each bank offers other deals.  You can spend your whole life checking and re-checking for the best deals on mortgages, savings, insurance etc etc etc.  and then moving all your details around.  Most people don't have that time.   In the future, we will need transparent automatic trusted proxies that act on our behalf, maintaining profile information, and anonymising this information as we require as we go about our online lives.  As we move from managing relatively simple personal profiles of textual information to multiple whole avatars and identities in the virtual world, this need will become even more acute.  For those that already feel they suffer from information overload, you haven't seen anything yet!

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