HSBC says no to handheld devices for personal online banking customers

HSBC has decided not to follow other high street banks in issuing hand-held card reading devices to its online banking customers.

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HSBC has decided not to follow other high street banks in issuing hand-held card reading devices to its online banking customers.

Both Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland have begun to issue the devices, which use a two-factor authentication system, to individuals who use their personal online banking services.

Barclays and RBS customers have to use their bank cards, PIN codes and a second “challenge” code provided by the bank to gain single-use password which can then be used to access online banking services.

But an HSBC spokesperson said: “We’ve looked at the devices, they have been around for a long time, especially for business customers. At this time we don’t see the need to distribute then to our personal banking customers.”

He added that confidential returns from the UK payments association Apacs showed that HSBC had “by far the lowest rate of fraud of any bank in the UK”.

HSBC was concentrating its efforts on detection and monitoring to prevent fraud, he said. “We take the risk of fraud to customers and to our business extremely seriously. As internet banking has taken off, we’ve invested heavily in fraud detection and prevention and that's paid off.

“We focus on back-end processes, filters and monitoring of transactions. We’re probably the bank most likely to ring you up and ask if a transaction was really made by you."

HSBC does issue card reader devices to commercial banking customers when it is requested. The technology is used particularly by businesses that need to give different members of staff access to the company bank account, but ensure that they cannot access it from home.

The bank would continue to monitor the situation for its personal banking customers and would consider issuing readers if there was demand from customers, the spokesperson said.

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