This little device arrived through the letter box this morning and while it looks like a three year olds first calculator it is, in fact, my banks attempt at improving on line security. Now you might think that I would welcome this but actually I have mixed feelings on its use. It seems that it will be used for signing on to the internet banking service and then to carry out some of the more "dangerous" transactions. I say "it seems" because the accompanying documentation is, well, pretty much non-existent other than a short letter – all the documentation is online and not very clear.
So what are my objections to the innocuous looking device? Well for a start I access my bank account from home, from work and, crucially, while on the move from my mobile. This implies that I will have to carry this calculator around with me too. I can’t see that working. I will, no doubt, leave it on my desk at work, get home and find that I cannot make a payment as I don’t have the required security codes. And as for keeping it in my pocket so I can access on the move – forget it. So from that point of view it is a backwards step as I will no longer be able to manage my account where and when I want.
Perhaps that is the real security improvement. As this device is going to be tied to my debit card and not (easily) transportable I won’t be able to access my account as often and when I do it will be only on a single PC. Once the system is operational in a couple of weeks I will report back on its use.