Barclays to distribute 500,000 chip/PIN readers
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Barclays is to send out half a million so-called ‘PINsentry’ handheld chip and PIN card readers to online banking customers in a pioneering anti-fraud initiative. The devices will be used together with the customer's normal debit card and its PIN, to authenticate their identity at log-in and for making certain payments.

Over half a million customers will be automatically sent the free card readers and instructions by the end of 2007, with this number increasing further as more customers are added to the service.

PINsentry will be rolled out in the second half of 2007 to personal customers who use online banking to set up third-party payments to someone new; Premier banking customers; and small and medium business customers who use online banking to set up third-party payments to someone new. Other customers will be upgraded to PINsentry as and when it is needed for their online banking activity.

This is the latest in a series of Barclays initiatives to increase the security protection for online banking customers – last year it offered free antivirus software as well as a SMS text message confirmation service to online customers. Barclays online banking won Anti-Fraud Strategy of the Year at the prestigious 2007 Financial Sector Technology Awards.

Customers who simply wish to use online banking to view their accounts and pay bills or established payees will be able to continue to use online banking as normal without the need for PINsentry.

Barnaby Davis, Director for Electronic Banking, says: “Barclays is constantly working to help protect customers and their money, and that is why we have invested in this system. PINsentry is the next generation of fraud prevention technology and Barclays is proud to be the first organisation in the UK to roll it out to its customers.”

Barclays has yet to specify how secure and obvious the mailout will be, and what the seciurity risks – if any – will be of the card readers going astray or finding their way into the wrong hands.

Barclays Online Banking now has over 1.7 million users and in 2006, 214 million transactions were completed online.

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