Stupid, Stupid Barclays

or – “A rant about convergence, or lack thereof”

Right, if you’re reading this and you have any idea of the kind of person I am, you know how I feel about my mobile phone. You know I love it, you know I’m never far from it and you know that above all, if I could, I’d use it for just about everything.

This last point is the kicker for me.

To give you a rough idea of what I’m talking about, here are just some of the things I use my phone for:

  • Contacts/Address Book
  • Calendar/Diary
  • Gaming
  • Email
  • Internet
  • MP3/Music Player
  • Camera
  • Video Camera
  • Directions/Maps/GPS
  • TV/Video Player
  • Live-Blogging
  • Micro-Blogging
  • Tube Map
  • Instant Messaging
  • Etc etc…

Because I carry my N95 8GB (pictured above) in my pocket, quite a small device take note, I don’t have to carry an iPod, Nintendo, TV, Camera, TomTom, PC, map… the list goes on.

All of these things (and many others) are no longer clogging up my pockets thanks to this rather awesome little handset.


Well this is, in part, down to the innovations of the team at Nokia. However it is also owes a lot to my own personal preference; Nokia have enabled me to do all these things and have by doing so have also empowered me to stop carrying all of the other devices.

I don’t like carrying lots of things in my pockets. At best, I will leave the house with my keys, my phone and my bankcard. That’s it. Only those three items.

Right then. Keeping all of the above in mind, let’s direct our attention for a moment to this thing:

– Barclays PIN Sentry –

Could it be…

My First Calculator?
The latest toy from The Early Learning Centre?
Or maybe even a band new phone maybe?

No. No. And No.

That, there, is Barclays ‘PIN Sentry’.

Excusing the ridiculous name for a second, let’s take a look at what it’s actually for.
Any time I want to log into MY internet banking, I have to put my Debit Card into that contraption, enter my PIN number and then, and only then, will my bank allow me to log into MY account.

First up, the whole sodding point of having internet banking, to my mind, is so that I can access my account from anywhere where there is INTERNET.
Until they truly crack mobile internet banking (and trust me – on the basis of this – we’re going to be waiting a long time), then this really is the only option for anyone wanting to access their account anywhere… (short of actually going into a branch, but really, does anyone do that anymore?).

Second, I get the whole security aspect of it all, really I do, but do I actually need this thing as well?!
I already have a unique 12 digit unique ID number, an 8 digit secret password and a five digit passcode.

Do I really NEED more security?

Surely there has to be line drawn between security to entry and barriers to entry? Right?


Next point – it is clear, from the points laid out above, that I like convergence. I want one device to do everything for me…
…Of convergence, I am a fan.

I do not want to be carrying that stupid, stupid piece of plastic around with me everywhere I go just in case I might want to log in to my internet banking. Idiots. Really.

Just no joined-up thinking whatsoever.

Finally… This post has been a long time coming; Barclays started introducing this towards the end of last year, (as did a few other banks, so I’ve been told), so I apologise if it seems a bit late in the day as it were… But yes, the final point –

I’ve actually spoken to Barclays about this and I’ve outlined my point of view. As a result, I have now been opted-out of this new system and my PIN Sentry is happily gathering dust in a draw somewhere in my room.


If you’re a Barclays customer and you find this idea as absurd as I do then I would strongly urge you to do the same.
Call your bank, tell them they’re idiots and get yourself opted out. The opportunity cost of this, just so you know, means that you will be unable to set up any ‘new payees’ via your online banking. I’m happy to live with this. I don’t often pay new people and if and when the situation does arise I can simply call the bank and get them to do it for me.

Here endeth the rant.


On a lighter note – have been working my backside off lately, (super exciting new project for SpinVox), so next weekend I’m going to head off down to Pilton to a little music festival you may’ve heard of…

Next weekend I’m headed back to Glastonbury.

And I can’t WAIT!


Read about my Glastonbury Mobile Geek plans over on SMS Text News and yes, you guessed it, just like last year, I’ll be blogging the whole thing from my mobile phone, (although I doubt very much I’ll be doing any internet banking).


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Author: James Whatley

Chief Strategy Officer in adland. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x

2 thoughts on “Stupid, Stupid Barclays”

  1. imagine if the buttons made noises like those keychains you used to get as a kid, or if it doubled up as a speak n’ spell. then you’d want to take it everywhere 😉

  2. I hear you, I’m with Natwest, but their pin calculator thing is only needed when you add payees to send them money, not to login; which would be overkill.

    The worst part, is each calculator is assigned to my card, so I have 3 identical calculators for each account, so I can never borrow someone elses if I’m not at home.

    I don’t mind using the thing if it means it secures people from withdrawing money from my account, and it means I can make instant withdrawls.

    Lloyds TSB for example have a online banking site that looks like it was built in the early 90s, when you add a payee you have to wait 3 working days before you can make them a payment, to prevent online fraud, which is rubbish when you just wanna pay a bill or something.

    Banking should be easy considering how common bank accounts are, and security doesn’t have to be hard. If someone is stupid enough to get infected with spyware and their login IDs get hacked, surly that’s their fault?

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