Bank of America completes SiteKey roll out

Source: Bank of America

Bank of America has completed the rollout of its free SiteKey security service for Online Banking with its launch this month in Washington and Idaho, one of several steps the bank is taking to increase online security and peace of mind.

Bank of America leads the industry with the SiteKey service, which provides an extra level of authentication. Customers pick one of thousands of images, write a brief phrase and select three challenge questions. The customer and the bank can pass that information securely back and forth to confirm each other's identity.

Using SiteKey is like getting a safe deposit box that takes two keys to open. Before the customer and the bank agree to open the box together, they confirm each other's identity.

"The SiteKey authentication service will help customers increase their online banking security easily, without adding any new hardware or software," said Sanjay Gupta, e-Commerce executive. "These changes will help all of us work together to prevent fraud and identity theft, while giving us peace of mind about handling finances online."

SiteKey is now a standard part of signing-in. In addition, online banking customers in the two states will be required to create new online IDs and passcodes that will be stronger, because customers will no longer be able to use personally identifiable information such as Social Security numbers and account numbers. Customers also will have the new ability to use letters, numbers and special characters such as underscores, hyphens and asterisks for their IDs and passcodes. Customers have been told about the changes through onscreen messages.

For the past two years, Javelin Strategy & Research ranked Bank of America No. 1 in its Online Banking Safety Scorecard.

Bank of America has the most online banking customers in the world, with nearly 20 million subscribers and 10.1 million online bill payers, including MBNA customers.

SiteKey is part of an umbrella of security measures that includes a zero liability guarantee that protects customers from fraud losses and two-tiered authentication for funds transfers.

Bank of America also has enhanced the privacy and security sections of its Web site to include more tips about online and offline security.

Here are more steps consumers can take to prevent fraud:
  • Use safe computer behavior. Install protection such as firewalls, anti- virus software and anti-spyware software. Keep the protection and browsers updated. Don't download materials from unknown senders. Use unique passwords that are hard to guess and change them often.

    Confirm the validity of all requests for sensitive personal, financial or account information, particularly if they are made with an urgent or threatening tone. Consumers who get the request through e-mail should open a new browser window and type in the referenced Web address rather than clicking on links provided within the e-mail.

    Monitor accounts, credit reports and credit scores. Notify banks and credit agencies immediately of any unauthorized transactions.

    Do not share your IDs, passcodes or ATM passwords with anyone.
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