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RBS digital banking app targeted by internet fraudsters

By Charlotte Ricca

Thirty per cent of applications for new accounts have been from money launderers

Royal Bank of Scotland’s new digital bank has been targeted by fraudsters, just two weeks after it launched.

Around 30 per cent of applications to the banking app Bó have allegedly been fraudulent.

Mark Bailie, Bó chief executive, said they expected the new app to attract fraudsters, who want accounts for money laundering.

“It’s interesting how keen the criminals are to get hold of bank accounts,” he said. “It happens with all the big banks. They’re just trying to open accounts. Criminals like bank accounts because it allows them to carry on their business. We’re blocking them at the front door,” he told the Times newspaper.

Royal Bank of Scotland launched Bó in a bid to compete with online start-ups such as Monzo and Starling. Bó is a Danish word that means ‘to live well’.

The app is aimed at UK customers with less than £100 ($130, €117) in savings and been designed to help users keep tabs on their spending, encouraging them to budget better and start saving.

RBS spent around £100m ($130m, €117m) developing the app, which operates on a separate IT system to its RBS and NatWest brands.

Bó has around 3,500 users, 2,000 of which are RBS staff who tested the service prior to its launch.

RBS is one of Britain’s biggest lenders, with around 18.9 million customers. It is 62 per cent publicly owned, following a £45bn ($58bn, €52bn) bailout during the financial crisis. The group is behind Natwest and Ulster Bank brands.

FURTHER READING: Westpac accused of money laundering breaches worth £5.8bn

FURTHER READING: RBS profits plunge as it prepares for flood of new PPI claims

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