Barclays sends in the PINsentry to thwart online fraudsters


Last year, Barclays customers completed 214 million transactions on the web. With this move, the bank hopes to add an extra layer of security to online banking, during a time of high levels of internet financial crime.

The PINsentry is about the size of a pocket calculator. Customers slot their debit card into the machine, which then reads one of millions of randomly generated eight-digit codes contained on the card. The PINsentry then generates a code – randomly generated each time – that must be input online before the customer can go any further.

Barclays said the readers will be sent out free of charge later this year to more than 500,000 customers – initially those using their online accounts to set up payments to third-party accounts – the transaction type most vulnerable to online fraud.

According to APACS, the UK payment association, total fraud losses on bankcards reached £428 million last year, although this is down on the £439 million in 2005. Banks have, collectively, spent £1.1 billion introducing the chip-and-PIN system as a major anti-fraud measure.

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