UK consumers could soon be using chip-and-Pin cards and card readers to make online payments more secure under an option being investigated by UK banks.
Card-holders would slot their chip-enabled cards into a small card reader and type in their Pin using the keypad on the device.
The reader would generate a unique number for the card-holder to enter onto the website to verify that they are the valid card-holder. Card readers could also be slotted into PCs.
The card readers would offer an extra level of security for internet banking, in addition to passwords and follow-up questions to verify the card-holder's identity, said Dick Clark, of Consult Hyperion, an IT consultancy which has developed a technical standard for authenticating card reader payments for banking association Apacs.
In the long term, card readers could be used for a wide variety of payments although any services will have to wait until 2005 when the UK's £1.1bn chip-and-Pin project is rolled out nationwide.
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