The payment system PayPal has introduced an extra layer of security called Security Key which it says should provide more protection for online shoppers.
In addition to typing in their usual username and password, account holders will be able to sign-up to a service which will text a code to their mobile phone which they also should enter.
PayPal is popular on sites such as eBay (which also owns the brand) as a more secure way of paying for items online, because it doesn’t involve passing on details of bank accounts or credit cards to people you may not know.
The new security system is known as two-factor authentication and is also used by some financial institutions to ensure better security online, helping stop people falling victim to online fraud such as phishing scams.
There are two ways to use the service, either through a mobile phone or by using a special token.
Both work by providing what amounts to a combination lock for the PayPal account which must be entered before the account can be accessed.
PayPal says the only costs are for the text which is charged at the mobile provider’s standard text message rate or a one-off payment of £3 for the physical security token which when clicked will also display a unique authentication code.
After it’s been used once, the code expires meaning no one else can use it to access the account.
Also check out our guide to shopping online for other ways to pay securely online as well as more advice and tips for keeping safe.
Gareth Griffith, head of risk management at PayPal, said: ‘Security Key is designed to let customers in and keep other people out with the extra safeguard that the combination always changes.
‘Offering the Security Key via text message is really important as we want to make it as quick and convenient as possible.
‘You just need your mobile phone to use it, saving the hassle of carrying around another gadget’
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