Abbey wary of two-factor authentication

25 Mar 2008 View Comments
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Abbey's customers reject two-factor authentication devices

Financial services group Abbey says its customers do not see the need for two-factor authentication devices as the technology represents too much hassle.

A study carried out by the bank with 1000 customers found that only 32 per cent of customers want the chip-and-PIN-style authentication devices.

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And despite the apparent concerns for online security, only 30 per cent of Abbey’s clients welcomed more security questions.

"People want security with the least hassle. Finding customer-friendly ways to protect people and their accounts is key," said Abbey’s director of financial crime Neil Wilson.

"Ongoing monitoring is one of the most important factors in preventing card fraud," he said.

The survey results follow Abbey’s decision to join HSBC in opting out of two-factor authentication schemes, which are intended to tackle fraud committed in cases where the cardholder is not present, such as online shopping.

Barclays, Lloyds TSB, Nationwide and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) all have two-factor systems that give customers automatically-generated one-time passcodes, to use in conjunction with the password they already know.

The problem with two-factor schemes is their impracticality, said EA Consulting Group director Robin Bearne.

“The fact that each issuer of cards will use a different authentication device means that a customer with three cards could end up with three different devices in their pockets,” he said.

Privacy firm Garlik’s chief executive Tom Ilube said that people are concerned, but are not prepared to do anything about it.

“Customers prioritise speed and convenience over security, so if a new gadget or application gets in the way, they will not use it.”

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