The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Banks Steal [Your] Money …
November 2, 2006, 10:44 am
Filed under: Comment

So my bank in Singapore, DBS, has introduced a new security measure called 2FA … which pathetically stands for 2nd Factor Authentication.

What it means is you get sent a little gadget [see the pic below] which, when you press the button on the front, gives you a special code to input into your internet banking to prove you are the real owner of the account.

As an additional security measure, the code the gadget gives you, continually changes [based on an alga-rhythm of your account number] so that any naughty person who gets their hand on your details, can’t use it to get your cash whenever they feel like it.

Now I love gadgets … I loooooooooooooooove gadgets … and I’m all for people not getting their hands on my hard-earned cash … however the fact of the matter is you have to keep the bloody gadget with you at all times because otherwise, there is no way you can access your bank account. 

No way. Nothing. Nada. Zero.

What’s worse is that in the near future, the bank will cease helping customers unless they can provide a ‘code’ – with failure to do so resulting in them charging you $20 just so you can access YOUR OWN BLOODY MONEY!

Now I appreciate that credit card fraud in Asia is rife … I’ve personally had to have 6 cards reissued because of people ‘copying them’ [Malaysia is the worst country for card fraudsters] … but bank accounts are generally free from attacks and yet DBS has decided all their customers are half wits who pass their account, PIN and passwords to all and sundry.

I know this makes me sound a complete and utter cynic … what a surprise eh? … but I think this is actually a marketing exercise, not a security one.

Think how smug the DBS Marketing Team must have felt when they realised that under the guise of ‘helping their customers keep their money safe’, they were ensuring the letters DBS were in the forefront of their customers minds each time they used their keys or accessed their cash.

Trouble is, my keyring is packed with keys and I don’t fancy looking a total cock by hanging it around my neck … so whereas the DBS Marketing Team thought they had identified a new ‘branding vehicle’ …. what they’ve really done is ensure I find DBS even more fucking awkward and pathetic to interact with than usual.

Already I’ve had to call Jill to find the gadget and press the little button so that I could pay some bills online … and I’ve only had it 24 hours.  And given you can’t ‘opt-out’ means I am stuck with this time-consuming method to spend my own cash – which, no doubt, will end up being charged to me through ever more excessive fees!!  Of course, in the unlikely event that something does go wrong, I am sure the bank will take no responsibility for it [“Our system is totally secure, you must have done something wrong sir”] and just take money from my account without my authorisation.

OK, so in theory it’s a nice idea – but then so is communism – however I am sure there are far more ‘practical’ methods to securing online bank accounts than this.

Another great reason of why banks fail, even when they are trying to portray they are doing the ‘right thing’. [They should read “Banks Behaving Badly” by Maria Preudergast  – then they’d maybe realise that like advertising, they’re a necessary evil, not something the average consumer loves]

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