Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

March 22, 2013

OTP (One Time Pins) in Banking. Be careful when enabling them

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 12:02 AM

One of the security features that is starting to get more and more common is the use of OTP (One Time PIN). The idea is that everytime you do a transaction, a One time pin is generated and SMS’d to you and you have to enter the pin before being able to make the transaction. It sounds like a great idea and makes things a bit more difficult for people trying to hack your account. However there is a downside that you need to think of as well. What if you don’t have access to your phone? What then? Oh, you might say that that would never happen but it does happen. What if your phone ran out of battery and you don’t have a charger handy? What if you are traveling to a different country and you need to make a transfer or payment. If your phone is not active in that country and on roaming, you will not be able to make a transaction.

I travel quite a bit for work, and I never enable international roaming on my phone. I always get a local SIM and use that instead, since that makes more economical sense. Now, if I had to make a transaction and I had OTP enabled I would be in a fix since I don’t have a working cell connection. In some cases the system also emails you the OTP but that assumes that you have access to your email account at that point in time. For example, I can’t access my personal email while at work. So I would have to go out; find an internet cafe, log in, check my email and then hopefully be able to make a transaction.

If you don’t travel or are ok with the risk that in an emergency you might not be able to make a transaction, then you should go ahead and enable OTP. Otherwise keep a secure password that you change on a very regular basis.

Well this is all for now. Will write more later.

– Suramya

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