HSBC’s online banking customers gain new security options

One of the country’s biggest provider of personal and business bank accounts recently announced it will be offering new and improved layers of security to its online banking customers.

Banking giant HSBC will be providing its four million online banking customers a new security device that generates a unique authentication code every time a customer seeks to access their account online.  Called a Secure Key, the credit card-sized device resembles a miniature calculator and features a numerical keypad and an LCD screen.

Online banking customers will still need to input their account name and password in order to gain access through the internet.  However with the addition of the Secure Key, customers will now also need to tap a PIN code into their new devices as well.

Once online banking customers do so, this will activate their Secure Key.  It will generate another authorisation code and will display it on the LCD screen.  This code is then entered online; only then will users be granted access to their bank accounts.

Each device and resultant code will be unique and tied to just one consumer’s online account information, which means that it will now be a requirement for all online banking customers to retain their Secure Key if they wish to continue to gain access to their online accounts.

Authentication devices such as the Secure Key are not new technology; in fact HSBC is not the only banking institution in the UK which has instituted the new layer of online security measures, though they are the first to make the extra step compulsory.  This past February Nationwide Building Society provided the option to make use of a security card reader to its online banking customers that preferred the extra layer of protection.

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