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Estonia: Swedbank to stop issuing password cards from February

TALLINN – Swedbank is to stop issuing code cards starting from February 1, while the existing cards can be used until February 1, 2019.

The Europe-wide law amendment to enter into force in fall 2019 in the interest of security significantly restricts transactions made with password cards, making the card useless in the future, Swedbank said.

Ede Raagmets, head of customer service at Swedbank Estonia, said that code cards that have been in use for more than 20 years have by today got in the way of fast developing technology, hence the law amendment. At present approximately 230,000 of the bank's customers use code cards for conducting business in the internet or mobile bank, but the number of such customers is quickly decreasing.

"Today, there already are several more secure possibilities for using bank and other e-services -- Smart-ID, ID-card, Mobile ID or a PIN calculator. For us it is extremely important to find the most suitable solution for each customer. Even though password cards can be used for a year still, we advise that people do not leave starting to use another means until the last minute," Raagmets said.

Raagmets said that the free service Smart-ID has recently become very popular as over 140,000 people in Estonia have started using it. "Smart-ID can be downloaded to a smartphone or gadget independently or can be formalized at a bank branch," Raagmets said. "For older customers, who do not use smartphones, a suitable option could be a PIN calculator, which automatically creates one-off passwords. Bank branch employees will gladly explain how to use a PIN calculator," Raagmets said.

If a person has already started using an alternative solution, they do not have to return the code card to the bank. "If you plan to come to the bank for some other procedure, you can also bring us your code card, but you do not need to make a special trip to the bank office for that," Raagmets said.

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