October 17th, 2012

Online Banking Upgrade: Replacing Challenge Questions

As part of the 11/27 Online Banking Upgrade, Online Banking users will no longer be able to use challenge questions to authorize access to their accounts. SMCU has decided to make this change based on industry best practices and concerns expressed by Federal and State regulating agencies about the security of challenge questions. Hackers and online thieves have proven that they are able to find what was once considered unique information if they know where to look. Information like your mother’s maiden name or the place where you were born is becoming easier to find, especially with the growing influence of social media. Although not all challenge questions can be answered through public information, there have been enough violations to require a change.

SMCU offers better online security in two ways:

Login Information

You must log in with a unique user name (at least six characters long, containing both letters and numbers) and a strong password. Logging in with your account information or a password that is easy to guess makes your accounts vulnerable to hackers.

Verifying Your Identity

The second big step involves how you reset your password if you get locked out and also how you log in from a public computer or a computer you don’t use often. Instead of using challenge questions, the new requirement will be to have a one-time pass code sent to a completely different channel or device, like your email address or cellular phone. This extra point of security reduces the risk of a thief having access to your account number and personal information to attempt to hack into your account.

Online security is always evolving, and SMCU is working hard to offer the latest, most secure solutions.


Please visit www.smcu.com/2012upgrade for more information about the coming improvements, which will take effect on November 27.

If you have any questions about the upgrade, Online Banking, or security, you can leave a comment on this post or call us at 206-398-5500.

Comments are closed.