News & Views - Savantor

Divided opinion over two-factor authentication with contactless

Monday, 07 April 2008

Following the view expressed in the last edition it is interesting to see retail chain EAT announcing their participation in the contactless roll out.  Also interesting to see others such as Prêt a Manger are simply asking customers to swipe their cards for items less than £10 with no CVM needed.  Whilst this may be a cheaper alternative for retailers it is also probably causing some confusion on the contactless roll out for customers.

There also seems to be some confusion on the two factor authentication front with the banks split on whether it is a good thing or not.  Abbey have stated that despite continuing security concerns, two thirds of customers do not want their bank to provide chip and PIN-style authentication devices.  The bank says a survey of 1000 of its own customers found that just one-in-three people (32%) want to be supplied with a security device to further secure online transactions.  Well one could argue that if 32% of your customers want something then it might be reasonable to provide it.  Leave the other 68% without it and see what happens.

Unlike other UK banks such as Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, LloydsTSB and Nationwide Building Society, Abbey has stated that it has "no plans" to supply authentication devices to customers.  HSBC has also opted out of issuing authentication devices to customers on the basis that its existing monitoring procedures and customer education initiatives are already effective in detecting and preventing fraud.

However RBS and Nationwide have begun issuing customers with Xiring hand-held authentication devices to access online banking accounts while Barclays has issued customers with its PINSentry devices which are used with a customer's normal debit card and PIN to authenticate their identity at log in and for making certain payments.  Both these initiatives seem to be lacking some central organisation to drive and communicate the roll out as there was for chip and PIN.

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