Hi AllI posted a message last week concerning the talking card readers that the various banks are now sending out.
Well this morning I received one from Natwest, and it does indeed talk!It has a large LCD display with a standard numerical keypad and a few extra function buttons, although I don't see any use for them at the moment.
It came with a small ear piece with inline volume, but it only has a 2.5mm jack. There is however, a small adaptor so you can still use headphones or speakers with the standard 3.5mm jack plug if you wish. It also came with a set of new batteries and a carrying pouch, although unless you are planning to go away and do online banking elsewhere I think it will just sit in the draw most of the time.
It didn't come with any instructions and I just played around until I found out which function I needed to verify my identity when online. I think the other functions are currently not needed at this time.
As an experiment I tried putting a HSBC card in the machine and it said wrong card, so it looks like you need a different card reader for each bank. I think that would probably be quite annoying or confusing for some people who have accounts with more than one bank, it's like having lots of different remote controls for all the different gadgets. It's a shame the banks could not have got together to create a universal card reader that would suit all.
My understanding was that your pin was not on the card for security reasons and is verified remotely using encryption whenever you use a cash machine, however this is a stand alone unit that is not connected in any way to the banks computer and yet it is able to verify your pin, which of course must mean your pin is somehow stored on the magnetic strip. Hoepfully if this is the case it is stored using good encryption.
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