HSBC Requires Dual Authentication

Bank Mandates Use for High-Risk Online Transactions
HSBC Requires Dual Authentication
LuAnne Kingston
In a groundbreaking effort to boost security, HSBC Bank USA is now requiring its retail banking customers to use dual-factor authentication for certain sensitive online banking transactions, says LuAnne Kingston, senior vice president.

The bank, which has $179.9 billion in assets, made the move because username and password "are too easily defeated," Kingston says. "The added layer of a digital security device will enable customers to stay one step ahead of the fraudsters and protect themselves from Internet crime."

The bank is requiring retail customers to use dual-factor authentication for certain sensitive online transactions, such as money transfers, wire transfers and changes to account beneficiaries, Kingston explains in an interview with Information Security Media Group. But it's providing the authentication technology free of charge.

HSBC is offering customers the option of using a hardware token or downloading a mobile application to generate a security code that serves as a second factor for online account authentication.

"This is a change for our customers, so we have a comprehensive customer education plan in place as well," she says.

Evolving Technology

Dual-factor authentication is a necessity for securing online transactions, Kingston says. "HSBC takes Internet security really seriously, so we are committed to evolving our technology solutions," Kingston says.

"Our commercial customers have been using tokens for years ... so this is focused on our retail customers."

Rollout of the authentication technology for retail clients began over the last two years in overseas markets, she adds.

During this interview, Kingston discusses:

  • The growing need for dual-factor authentication;
  • Why HSBC opted to provide this new service free-of-charge and make it mandatory for certain high-risk transactions; and
  • Additional steps the bank is taking to ensure customers play a more active role in fraud prevention.

At HSBC, Kingston oversees customer strategy in the U.S. She has been with the bank for 26 years, holding various line and support leadership positions in human resources and training, Six Sigma quality and mortgages. Before her current role, Kingston was HSBC's Western New York district executive, directing the business for 65 retail bank branches, leading more than 700 employees.

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