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Barclays campaigns to take on fraudsters

08 May 2017  |  9148 views  |  12 Barclays cash machine without person

The UK's Barclays Bank is rolling out a service to enable customers to switch off debit cards direct from their mobile app as part of a £10m nationwide drive to increase the public’s awareness of financial fraud risks.

The initiative comes as latest crime figures from the Office of National Statistics and Action Fraud show 5.6m fraud and cyber offences in the UK making up half of all recorded crime, costing the economy £11bn. Barclays believes the numbers could be even higher, releasing research which reveals a quarter of people in the UK have experienced a cyber-fraud or scam in the past three years, 18% of them more than once, suggesting that many crimes go unreported.

In an effort to tackle the problem, Barclays is devoting a £10 million spend to a national advertising campaign to alert people to the risks, and hosting regular fraud awareness takeovers on its online and mobile banking sites, prioritising fraud prevention over products. The bank is also launching an online quiz, with the aim of helping at least three million people to assess their own digital safety level and receive tips on how to strengthen defences.

The educational commitment is being backed up on the product front by giving customers new levels of control over when, where and how their debit card works, offering mobile subscribers the choice to instantly turn ‘on’ and ‘off’ their card for remote purchases, and set their own daily ATM withdrawal limits via the the Barclays' banking app.

Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays UK, says: “Fraud is often wrongly described as an invisible crime, but the effects are no less damaging to people’s lives. As a society our confidence in using digital technology to shop, pay our bills and connect with others has grown faster than our knowledge of how to do so safely. This has created a ‘digital safety gap’ which is being exploited by criminals. I believe the need to fight fraud has now become a national resilience issue, and we all need to boost our digital safety levels in order to close the gap."

Comments: (12)

Alexander Peschkoff
Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 08 May, 2017, 09:56

I suggested that idea here at Finextra in January 2016: http://bit.ly/2qRMS1U

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Alexander Peschkoff
Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 08 May, 2017, 09:57

A million dollar idea - the card switch

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Lu Zurawski
Lu Zurawski - ACI Worldwide - London | 08 May, 2017, 11:54

Yep - the "customer controls" wavefront is upon us. Not just for cards, but for all manner of consent/permission management, particularly as PSD2 and GDPR become reality over the next few years.

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Jonathan Williams
Jonathan Williams - Mk2 Consulting Ltd - Rugby | 08 May, 2017, 15:38

The include/block lists in PSD1 & 2 seem to have been late in arriving in the UK. So those customer controls have not yet made a mark. Soon, perhaps.

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Jonathan Williams
Jonathan Williams - Mk2 Consulting Ltd - Rugby | 08 May, 2017, 15:43

Anyone taken the "digitally safe" quiz yet? Http://www.barclays.co.uk/security/digitally-safe-quiz/

I think it told me I was too paranoid for not trusting phone numbers in SMS messages.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 09 May, 2017, 10:42

So the message from Barclays to their customers is: "We cannot protect you from fraud, but it's costing us so much that we would rather ruin your user experience".

I cannot see the majority of cardholders switching on and off all the time, especially as online card payments are becoming more essential than card-present payments.

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Jonathan Williams
Jonathan Williams - Mk2 Consulting Ltd - Rugby | 11 May, 2017, 11:42

Education is important but without incentive to act it will only ever be limited in effectiveness. How do we get consumers (and businesses) to care enough about digital security?

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Alexander Peschkoff
Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 11 May, 2017, 11:53

@JW - Customer should not "care" about security - it must be invisible and work seamlessly in the background. Also, UX is important - I don't want my card being simply blocked when I try to use it overseas. In 2017, there are numerous ways for the bank and customer to deal with such scenarios in a elegant and easy way.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 11 May, 2017, 11:58

Agree with AP! As a customer, I don't want to go beyond most basic security and for me UX is at most importance. For online payments, VbV/MSC is that basic level - cannot be asked to do any more. If the bank doesn't want to introduce VbV/MSC for some reason - not my problem. If the bank cannot ensure secuity of my funds - I move to another bank.

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Jonathan Williams
Jonathan Williams - Mk2 Consulting Ltd - Rugby | 11 May, 2017, 12:17

@AP, I think customers have a part to play. For example Jeremy Clarkson's decision 10 years ago to publicise his sort code and account number in the belief that people could only make payments to him, resulting in a direct debit falsely set up against that account.

I don't disagree with the other anonymous responder that user experience is also important and security measures which are disproportionate will not gain customer buy-in (my point around incentivisation). 

In the world of e-mail, we continually receive phishing message; does that mean we shouldn't ensure that customers understand the need to be aware of them and implications of not being vigilant?

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Alexander Peschkoff
Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 11 May, 2017, 12:44

@JW - Security would have greatly improved if banks implemented one of these simple options: (a) Push vs Pull, especilly for e-comm (i.e. I insruct my bank to pay a seller, not give someone my FULL card details) - this options still requires some anti-phishing provision; (b) One-time PAN for e-commerce (via bank app) - and remove PAN from my physical card in the process. Just a snippet of what's possible out there, today, in real tangible terms. The same goes for cardless ATMs etc.

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Lu Zurawski
Lu Zurawski - ACI Worldwide - London | 11 May, 2017, 12:59

Looks like "Customer controls" will polarise opinions! But customer education (or behavioral "nudge") is an absolute necessity for citizens in a digitalised economy. OK - lets make it as simple and inclusive as possible but we're gonna need to change habits. Its a bit like house insurance - if you want to leave your front door secured by a simple latch then that's fine. But please don't complain if your neighbour with the dead-bolt lock and a burglar alarm gets a cheaper insurance deal. Your choice.

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