Barclays limits online funds transfers to fight phishing fraud

Barclays limits online funds transfers to fight phishing fraud

The UK's Barclays Bank has cut the amount its Web banking customers can transfer online to external accounts to just £1000 in a bid to cut rising fraud levels.

According to a report by The Sunday Times, the change affects all payments made to third parties that the bank does not recognise as a business. Customers wishing to transfer large amounts to an external account must now phone the bank to initiate the transaction.

Furthermore customers who have set up transfers to companies as regular payments - rather than bill payments - will have to change them to e-bill payments if they want to pay more than £1000.

The bank's Andrew McDougall told the paper that Barclays has lowered its online transfer limit from £2000 to £1000 to protect customers from fraud.

The move is part of an effort to stem losses to cyber frauds such as phishing. Figures released last month by the Association for Payment Clearing Services (Apacs) revealed that direct fraud losses from online phishing scams in the UK almost doubled in 2005 to £23.2m, compared to £12.2m in 2004.

Last year four of the UK's largest banks - including Barclays - began delaying intra-bank online payments between accounts in an attempt to combat security breaches caused by online phishing attacks.

Barclays introduced a one day delay for transfers in order to carry out checks to prevent fraud. HBOS, Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest also each moved to delay real-time online transfers in an effort to stem losses from phishing attacks.

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