Quarter million still using password cards to log into online banking

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)

Approximately 250,000 people in Estonia are still using password cards exclusively for authentication when logging into online banking.

These users have half a year to switch to another means of authentication, however, as password cards for online banking will soon be a thing of the past, reported ETV news broadcast “Aktuaalne kaamera.”

Swedbank and SEB are the only banks operating in Estonia that currently still allow the use of password cards for logging into online banking.

Swedbank has by far the most clients who are exclusive users of password cards, totalling 230,000 at the beginning of the year, although declining somewhat to 185,000 since.

According to Swedbank Executive Manager of Private Customer Banking Kaie Metsla, as of 16 July, it will no longer be possible to log into the bank’s mobile banking system using a password card for authentication.

The daily transaction limit for online banking when using password cards will continue to gradually decrease through the end of the year as well, decreasing to €100 in September and €50 in November.

“This is a sort of smooth transition which will allow them to get used to new solutions,” Metsla explained. “We are otherwise actively organising campaigns and addressing our clients. Now we are putting a special focus on it.”

The number of password card users at SEB has decreased by nearly one third this year, from 100,000 at the beginning of the year to 70,000.

According to Heigo Tark, head of Authentication and Security in the Baltics at SEB, this rate of decrease is quite satisfying.

While Swedbank will allow its clients to continue using their password cards through 1 February, 2019, SEB, on the other hand, will gradually be closing clients’ password cards this year already, sending password card users a notice regarding the closure two months in advance.

Tark noted that those who use password cards for authentication more frequently will be sent this notice later, and those using them less frequently will be sent the notice sooner.

SEB will not, however, be decreasing its daily transaction limit from the current €200.