Telephone banking is a safe and secure way to conduct everyday banking activities. However, the level of security your bank provides depends on what security measures they have in place when you call their automated banking hotline.
Telephone Banking Security
Different banks have different types of security in place for their telephone banking systems. For example, you can access Santander telephone banking services with just your long Debit Card number and your date of birth, or a Customer ID and telephone banking number. And with RBS, you can access RBS’s telephone banking services by inputting your unique customer number and then a few digits from your passcode.
This level of security is the same as with online banking. When you bank online with RBS, for example, you are usually asked to input a unique customer number, three digits from a numerical passcode and three characters from a password to be granted access to your online banking account. Banking websites also have an SSL certificate, which keeps your passwords and other sensitive information private when you access them.
Some telephone banking systems also have voice security. This feature asks you to speak your password, and voice recognition technology is then used to confirm it is you. For example, Barclays and HSBC use this security system to prevent fraud. It is called Voice ID.
Is Telephone Banking Secure Enough?
Research conducted by consumer group Which? in 2013 found that First Direct was the best bank with regards to telephone banking security, while Halifax and Santander were the worst. With Santander, for example, Which? were asked for nine pieces of simple information that a fraudster could easily have access to.
First Direct, meanwhile, asked them extremely hard high-security questions that a fraudster wouldn’t know.
Taking that research into account, it is obviously the case that some telephone banking systems are not as secure as they could be. NatWest, for example, only ask for a customer number that’s based on your DOB and then three digits from a security number. This level of security is basic, and while it is easy to use, it isn’t the best from a security point of view. The best systems ask private questions, and they use voice recognition to confirm your identity.
Top Tips for Safely Using Telephone Banking
- Make your call in private and never in a public place
- If you must bank in a public place, shield your phone’s screen
- Keep your Debit Card on your person at all times
- Don’t write down your passcode or security number
- Never give out your PIN number or account number on the phone
Alternative banking methods
If you are concerned about the security of your telephone banking service, then we recommend that you use online banking or mobile banking. With mobile banking, you can authorise fingerprint login (if you have a smartphone with a fingerprint sensor), and with online banking, you will have the security of an SSL-enabled website behind you. SSL websites can be identified by a Padlock icon in the URL bar.