Understanding the Factors

Today’s authentication methods--used to confirm that it is you, and not someone who has stolen your identity--involve one or more basic “factors”:

Something the user knows (e.g., password, PIN)
Something the user has (e.g., ATM card, smart card or similar items)
Something the user is (e.g., biometric characteristic, such as a fingerprint)

Single-factor authentication uses one of these methods; multi-factor authentication uses more than one, and thus is considered to be a more reliable and stronger fraud deterrent. When you use your ATM, you are using multi-factor authentication: Factor number one is something you have, your ATM card; factor number two is something you know, your PIN.

Your bank’s goal is to ensure that the level of authentication used in a particular transaction is appropriate to the level of risk in that application. Accordingly, your bank has concluded a comprehensive risk-assessment of its current methods following stringent federal regulatory guidelines and will be implementing the appropriate authentication measures to keep your online transactions safe and secure.