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Bank Security Questions

What's the Deal With Bank Security Questions?


What's your favorite ice cream flavor? What designs are on your library card? Your favorite entertainer? Who was your third grade teacher? Where did you honeymoon? What do all of these questions have in common? They're all actual security questions for online services, and the idea behind these kooky questions is that providing the answers will make it easier to retrieve your password should you forget it.

I hadn't really contemplated the motives banks have for utilizing these questions until I read a thought-provoking Slate article called "In What City Did You Honeymoon." Online services use the secret question method because it's cheap — calling to have a password reset can cost a company between $10 and $15 each time, while resetting your password with your secret question costs nothing at all.

It does make me wonder how hacker-safe these questions are, and I like the suggestion the article gives for banks to convert to a phone-based authentication system. If you forget your password, you just have to call from one of the phone numbers that you used to set up the account. Then, they'd call you on that phone and you'd have to type in a number that would appear on your screen. Seems easy enough.

Can you think of any funny bank security questions you've come across?

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