HSBC are sending out their new Secure Key devices to improve security for their Personal Internet Banking customers.
The device, which happens to look like a cheap calculator from the 1980’s, generates a random PIN that you have to enter when logging on to your HSBC account. If you connect to your office network when you’re away from the office the chances are you have to carry around a “dongle” which does a similar thing.
- Enhanced security – Criminals can steal or guess a password. But with Secure Key, they need your PIN number AND your personal Secure Key device to log onto your Personal Internet Banking. It’s an extra layer of security.
- Easy to use – Just switch it on, enter your Secure Key PIN code and it’ll give you a unique, one-off six digit passcode each time you want to log on. It’s as simple as that.
- Small and portable – It’s about the same size as a credit card so it should easily fit in a wallet or purse. You can take it with you and log on to your bank account anywhere you like.
It’s good to see they’re taking security seriously, but I’ve always had a feeling that these devices tend to provide more of a barrier to logging in than it’s worth for the extra security they provide.
If the best banks can somehow find a way of using mobile phones, which we’re all likely to have with us wherever we are, and have more of an attachment to than a cheap looking piece of plastic, to replace these devices then both security and customer engagement should increase.
It will also be interesting to see how well account aggregators which require login details to access accounts will cope with this extra level of security.
HSBC will start sending Secure Keys out to new customers from March 23rd, with existing customers due to receive theirs in the coming months.
If you’re a HSBC customer, how do you feel about having this extra level of security? Pleased that it makes your accounts safer, or just a nuisance? Let us know in the comments below.