Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Superficial security

I got annoyed in the bank today.

I was paying my credit card bill from my current account. Both accounts have the same name and address on them and I've handed my bank card over for the payment. Before making the payment the bank insisted I tell them my date of birth (which I did without protest or hesitation) then the details of the direct debits on my current account.

I said I'd rather not have to release any more of my so-called 'security information' in a public space. I offered to enter my PIN for them in the magic box*. But no. They insisted on the direct debit information.

I said I wasn't happy that this meant everyone in the room** would know both my birthday and direct debit details, and it was countered with "but it's only the company name they'll know, not the full details".

I pointed out that this was apparently enough information to withdraw money from my account without knowing my PIN and it went momentarily quiet followed by "I'm sorry, but I need the direct debit details to pay this bill". Grrrr. Pointless.***

I did tell them in the end. I needed to pay the bill. I requested that it be pointed out to whomever was responsible for the procedures that it really wasn't security. She duly wrote "Not happy" on a print out of my details. Pffft! I'm fairly sure that within 30 seconds of me leaving the words "Mad woman with a bee in her bonnet" were added after "Not happy".

In order to make this post more than simply a whinge about my bank can I point you in the direction of Chip and Spin, a site summarising the investigations into the Chip and PIN technology and pointing out, in a far more useful and informative way than I do, that banks aren't always right.

* I suspect this is not what it is formally known as, but you know what I mean... the keypad thing.
** Sorry people-in-the-queue, but it only took a minute longer than it would have anyway.
*** I acknowledge that my pointing out the issue was probably pointless as well. But apparently I was grumpy and particularly intolerant of stupidity today.

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Phff Security, some theif could have been behind you and then mugged you and then stolen all of you'r money in the bank all due to some stupid security procedure which is meant to stop thing like that!

Sorry, I rant n rave a bit!!
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