HSBC is aiming to increase security for its online business customers by distributing free security tokens to help protect access to their accounts.
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From next month, password tokens are being sent to each of HSBC’s 180,000 Business Internet Banking customers across the country.
Distributed free of charge the portable tokens generate a frequently changing single-use security code, which customers use alongside their user ID and password to make online banking transactions.
HSBC said the keyring sized device offers an additional line of defence against the growing risks from online fraud.
HSBC’s shift to two-factor authentication - where a customer is verified by something they know and something they have - comes at a time of increasing concern among banks about the growth and sophistication of internet-related crime. As each token is linked to an individual user’s profile it is also of no use to a criminal if lost or stolen.
Simon Wainwright, head of business banking at HSBC, said, “This will enable us to stay one step ahead of the fraudsters. Our experience in other parts of the world shows that this kind of two factor authentication is an extremely useful weapon in the fight against internet crime, and we would urge other banks in the UK to seriously consider following our lead.”
Migration towards the HSBC tokens will be phased in over the next 12 weeks. Token activation is via a short, simple one-off process.
The tokens are already being used among HSBC customers in the US and Hong Kong.