sharing news and views from Crouch End and Hornsey
I bank with HSBC. HSBC is a huge organisation having a market capitalisation of over £100,000,000,000. As far as I can tell it was largely unaffected by the recent banking crisis. If it had any bad debts they were but a pinprick in its enormous size. It trades on reliability and safety, rather than on flashy products, and on most of its accounts pays derisory rates of interest.
Until recently its log on process to carry out internet banking transactions, was one of the most irksome I have had to go through, being spread out over several screens and requiring me to look up individual digits from my password. I was happy to put up with the irk as this seemed to me to be secure.
Now however it has "upgraded" its security. To me, the customer, this makes the process immensely more irksome as it now involves a second computer which is dedicated to the task of generating passcodes. This second computer takes the form of a credit card sized object, rather like a calculator. In order to use it I need a security code. On entering my security code the device shows me a security code. I then enter this 6 digit security code into my main computer. I can't tell if I have made an error as the new code appears only as a series of dots. Given that I am only going to use this code once it is of no possible use to any one looking over my shoulder. Why not show it on the screen, so that I can check it?
HSBC's suggestion is that I should carry this second computer about with me on my keyring!
For all this additional irk, I do not believe the process is one jot more secure. HSBC did not provide a satisfactory answer to my enquiry about the cost-benefit analysis of the additional irk.
A range of additional accounts and services to cover other financial eventualities
Things I think I don't need, include: