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PSD2 strong customer authentication FAQs

New regulations for online payments

Online banking security is increasing

This year, a new regulation is being introduced to help fight fraud and increase the security of online payments. The changes are called Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) and the whole banking sector is making changes to be compliant with the regulation.

We will be applying the SCA changes to our Internet Banking service. It’s one more thing we’re doing to help prevent fraud and keep your money safe.

These are actions you need to take to get ready for SCA:

If you use Internet Banking

In Autumn 2019, the authentication process for logging in will change.  In addition to answering your security questions, you may be asked to enter a four-digit security code via an automated telephone call.  This additional step will only be requested once every three months.

You will also be asked to enter the security code when performing other actions on Internet Banking, like making payments to new beneficiaries or updating key payment data.  It will also be triggered when trying to access account history over three months old.

This second factor of authentication is being introduced to ensure your Internet Banking data is secure and to reduce fraud.

Update your contact details

It’s important that your telephone and email address details are up to date, to ensure we can send you security codes and you can bank online without interruptions.

You can update your details online at

Alternatively, you can call us on 0345 140 1000

Office hours: Monday 8.30am-5pm Tuesday 8.30am-5pm Wednesday 8.30am-5pm Thursday 9.30am-5pm Friday 8.30am-5pm


A guide to Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) under PSD2

Questions Answers
Why is Unity making changes to Internet Banking?

A new EU Payments Services Directive (PSD2) took effect in January 2018, bringing in new laws aimed at enhancing consumer rights and reducing online fraud.

A key element of PSD2 is the introduction of additional security authentications for online transactions, known as strong customer authentication (SCA).

Why is Strong Customer Authentication needed?

Payment fraud losses have been steadily increasing for nearly a decade. The European Commission has intervened by placing secure customer authentication (SCA) requirements on participants to reduce fraud as one of the core components of PSD2.

Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) is a new European regulatory requirement to reduce fraud and make online payments more secure.

What is Strong Customer Authentication? PSD2 requires the use of two independent sources of validation for certain actions completed online, this means selecting a combination of two out of the three categories to validate your identity (commonly known as the ‘two-factor authentication’):
·         something you know (e.g. PIN)
·         something you have (e.g. card/phone)
·         something you are (e.g. fingerprint)This is applicable to transactions in the European Economic Area (EEA) only, where both payer and payee are in the region.

Our Internet Banking service doesn’t currently require a second factor of authentication so we will be introducing an automated telephone call to comply with the change in law and make our Internet Banking more secure.

What changes will I see on Internet Banking? After the changes are implemented in Autumn 2019, certain activity on Internet Banking will require a second factor of authentication.  In practice, this means you will be asked to enter a code shown on the Internet Banking screen following receipt of an automated telephone call, to confirm you are the person making the request.

The telephone message will confirm the details of the payment so you can be sure you are authorising the correct information and the call is genuine.

Can I opt out? No, this is a regulatory change and cannot be opted out of.
When will the changes start? The changes will be implemented in Autumn 2019, more details will be provided nearer the time.
How do I make payments without SCA? All transactions that qualify for SCA will require additional authentication to submit.  We will tell you at the time of making the payment if you will be required to submit a second factor.  Typically, this will be for payments to new beneficiaries or making changes to beneficiary account details.  You will not be able to submit a payment if you do not provide the second factor when requested.
What if my telephone details aren’t up to date?

We will be attempting to contact all of our Internet Banking customers between now and September to make sure we have your up to date contact details.  In the meantime, you can help us ensure we have the correct details telephone number and email address details for you by:

·       Calling us on 0345 140 1000

Office hours: Monday 8.30am-5pm Tuesday 8.30am-5pm Wednesday 8.30am-5pm Thursday 9.30am-5pm Friday 8.30am-5pm

·       Updating your details online at

What if my colleague submits the payment and I’m the authoriser, will I have to use SCA too? No, we will only ask the colleague submitting the payment to undertake two-factor authentication.
How will I perform SCA if I have accessibility needs? We’re committed to making the information and resources that we provide online, accessible to all users.

If you have any specific requirements that we need to be made aware of, please email us at or call us on 0345 140 1000.

What actions will be affected? There are additional actions within Internet Banking that will require SCA, these include:
– accessing transactions and statements over 3 months old;
– logging in every 3 months; and
– making changes to your  beneficiaries payment details, e.g. changing the destination account number or sort code.
You will be automatically advised if your activity requires secondary authentication and the instructions required to follow the authorisation process.  We will also be providing some online tutorials to help guide you through the process once it’s rolled out.
Is there another way I can provide SCA? Currently, we are only providing SCA by a telephone call.
Does it affect my user privileges? No, this will not change any of your existing access levels and permissions as an Internet Banking user.
Should I do anything differently when using Internet Banking? No. The system will automatically escalate any activity that will require a second factor of authentication to complete.  Just follow the instructions on screen and ensure you have your telephone with you if you want to make urgent transactions.
What if I change my contact details? You should update the contact details we hold for you online at, or by calling us on 0345 140 1000.

We can store several numbers that you can choose to use online.

Can I store more than one telephone number? Yes, you can give us all your contact numbers so when you are asked to perform SCA you will be able to choose the telephone number for us to contact you on at the point of submitting your instruction.
How do I know it’s secure? We are committed to continuously improving the security of our online banking.  This is another measure that will help prevent fraud and keep your banking secure online.

We will never ask you for the following things:

  • Your PIN
  • Credit cards, chequebooks or cash
  • Internet Banking password
  • Transfer of funds to another account for “safekeeping”
Who will be contacted? Only the individual submitting the payment will be called and they will be contacted on the number(s) they have registered with the bank.   They will be informed at the point of making the payment that additional security is required before the payment can be made, therefore they will need to have access to their telephone before starting their online banking activities.
Can we use our office telephone number? Everyone using online banking will need access to the telephone number they have registered with the bank.  It is important not to use group or shared numbers as you must be able to answer the call while making the payment for it to be submitted. It will be possible to register several numbers with us, and then you can select the number to call from a list provided.

Your organisation’s authorisation process will not be affected by these changes, and only the user submitting the payment will be required to provide additional authentication.  Therefore, if you usually require two people to make payments online this will not change, only the submitter may be asked for additional verification.


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