UK online banking: new card-reading thingies?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Blue Velvet, May 27, 2007.

  1. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    I'm a big fan of online banking, haven't stepped foot into a branch for months.

    But I've been reading about the banks starting to release these new devices for customers that use online banking... and I can't find much detail about them.

    An example here.

    Although my bank (Abbey) hasn't started using them yet, I'm concerned that these will become standard practice before the end of the decade.

    Does anyone use one of these? How do they work? Do they plug into your computer? Will they be Mac-compatible?
  2. Lau Guest

    Ooh, I know. I'm hoping these won't become standard too.

    I've memorised my account number and sort code (and my Visa details*) so I can log in anywhere – at work, abroad or wherever and not have to look up the number, and this will mean you'll have to plan when to carry some card thing with you if you wanted to bank, and presumably it could get nicked, and so on.

    We use them at work, and I don't have a problem with that, when there's various authorisers for stuff, but it seems to add too much complication to home banking without enough benefit. If they're like the ones we use at work, they're wireless, and you have to enter your PIN number, and then a code on screen into the widget and, then it gives you a code on the LCD display to enter back into the online banking. They look like a cheap kiddy calculator, basically. I assume it's done with algorithms and stuff, rather than actually transmitting wirelessly.

    *This is more for online buying so I don't have to get up of my arse and find my wallet with the card in it. :eek:
  3. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    Ah OK... so they're not hooked up to the computer then? My chief concern as I only do my banking from home.
  4. janey macrumors 603


    Dec 20, 2002
    sunny los angeles
    oh are those like the rsa securid thingies? i've used them don't plug them in, generally they (and a server located at the bank) generate numbers using the same algorithm and seed together so you need a valid login name, password, and one of these constantly changing numbers to login, otherwise it fails.

    of course in this situation it's slightly different in what you need, but in general it's the same.

    the idea behind it generally if you lose or have no access to any part of the equation it's impossible to login, which is a good thing if someone knows your pin # and your card but not the token, or vice versa.
  5. Lau Guest

    No, and if my only semi-caffeinated morning brain is thinking rightly, the Mac compatibility shouldn't be an issue, as it's all done through the browser and the code generated by the thingy.

    Edit: What janey said. :p
  6. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Thread title edited. :D
  7. janey macrumors 603


    Dec 20, 2002
    sunny los angeles

    fancy flash thing that sorta explains how it works. basically almost never is it connected to the computer. the cards/tokens/keychain dealies are first synced with a server to generate the same numbers at the same time. then when you login, the server checks the numbers it has for your particular one to see if it matches up, and so on.
  8. Brize macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2004
    I was asked to trial one of these devices a couple of years ago for Lloyds TSB. I declined for the reason outlined by Lau: I access my account from a number of different locations with memorised details. Having to carry a physical device would defeat the object somewhat.
  9. dcv macrumors G3

    May 24, 2005
    I don't know what's meant by a "card-reading thingy" but I have both personal and business accounts at HSBC and I've got a "thingy" similar to what janey mentioned for my business account. It just generates a random unique number when you press the button, which is needed as an additional security number to log in - similar indeed to the RSA SecurID token I use to log in to my work's network from home.
  10. techgeek macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2004
    Chip and PIN

    Yes the newer ones are chip and PIN card readers that plug into your USB.
    Dunno if they will be Mac compatible or not, but I hope so.
  11. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    I have a Chase credit card and use the online thingy exclusively, but they have this really annoying thing where they have to e-mail a one-time-use PIN number to my e-mail address for me to login. I understand it's secure and all, but if someone gained access to my online banking for that card, the only thing they could do is pay my bill, and they're more than welcome to do that for me :D
  12. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    They should just do something like Bloomberg B-Units - they seem pretty secure to me.

    You have a credit card like device that has a biometric reader in it and a sensor that can read flashes on a screen. You go to Bloomberg and sign in with a name and a password, you then hold the B-Unit to the screen which is able to read a flashing black/white area, it then generates a code you enter to get in to the system. I don't think with the way Bloomberg use it you have to scan your finger every time, but that could be built in to the process too. Pretty rock solid if you ask me. Far better than just a few numbers at any rate.

    edit: This is a B-Unit from the front:
  13. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    That's good, just incase one ever loses the important digit.
  14. ecksmen macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2006
    We use Secure ID at work, and it does work well, but its no where near as quick as remembering a password.

    We used to always use passwords that were not words, and contained asorted alphanumeric, atleast 9 characters long.

    Another good one is to make up a password from a sentance.

    I like big bums and I can not lie.

    IlbbaIcnl - first letter, case sensitive from the above sentance.

    Replace letters with numbers.


    With a little though you can have IMO a very secure password that's easily to remember.

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