Swedbank to stop issuing password cards

Bank password cards will soon be a thing of the past in Estonia.
Bank password cards will soon be a thing of the past in Estonia. Source: (Aili Vahtla/ERR)

Banks in Estonia are phasing out the use of password cards as a means of authentication ahead of an EU directive to enter into effect in fall 2019 that for security reasons will significantly limit the transactions one can conduct using the card. Swedbank announced on Monday that it will stop issuing password cards to its customers as of Feb. 1.

Password cards, which have been in use for over 20 years, have been made obsolete by rapidly developing technology, which is the reason behind the change in legislation, Ede Raagmets, head of customer service at Swedbank Estonia, said according to a press release.

Currently, approximately 230,000 Swedbank clients use password cards for authentication in online or mobile banking, but this figure is shrinking rapidly.

"Nowadays there are already a number of more secure means of using banking and other online services — Smart-ID, ID cards, Mobile-ID or PIN calculators," Raagmets highlighted, stressing the importance of not leaving the adoption of one of these newer methods of authenticatin to the last minute.

According to the Swedbank official, Smart-ID in particular has proven increasingly popular among smartphone users in particular, is in use by more than 140,000 people already, and is free. For older clients and those who do not have smartphones, Raagmets suggested the PIN calculator, which automatically generates single-use passwords. "Employees at our bank branches are happy to explain how to use the PIN calculator," she added.

Swedbank customers who have already been issued password cards may continue to use them for transactions of up to €200 per day through February 2019.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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