In the coming months, you’re likely to start noticing that making certain transactions online takes longer than it used to, with added security steps asking you to prove your identity in new ways. This is because new regulations are forcing all banks to take more care over verifying the identity of people shopping online or using online banking. Although we love online shopping for the convenience and speed, a few extra minutes spent completing a purchase is absolutely worth it if it means that fewer people are able to get away with theft and fraud.

What are the changes?

The major change coming is for online shopping: pretty soon, banks are going to need you to verify your identity in one of three ways before approving a payment. The options are a push notification that asks you to approve the transaction (through a mobile banking app), a text with a passcode that you can input on the payment screen, or an automated phone call where you say a code that is shown on screen.

These same options will also be enabled for online banking, where you’ll have to verify you’re identity if you’re using a new device. However, here the change will be less drastic as you’ll be able to set up devices that you commonly use (such as your personal phone or laptop) as ‘trusted devices’ – once you have trusted a device, you shouldn’t be asked to complete an additional verification step.

Is there anything that I need to do to prepare?

You need to make sure that your bank is able to get in touch with you to verify your identity. This means either downloading their app – all major banks have a mobile app now – or giving up to date contact information so that they can send texts or automated calls.

It’s important to be aware that this isn’t a change that you can opt out from: the new regulations mean that all banks have to ensure that these checks are carried out for their customers. If you have any concerns, or don’t think that you’ll be able to access any of the three verification methods listed, then you should get in touch with your bank as quickly as possible and let them know.

Are there any other changes coming?

While we don’t have anything else to report on right now, this is part of a wave of new regulations and banking initiatives designed to protect consumers, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see more similar changes coming soon. Other recent news in this area has included the fraud refund guarantee, which will give people the right to claim back money that they lose through scams – even in cases where they are tricked into giving up money voluntarily. There were also reports earlier this year that banks will soon check the full name as well as the sort code and account number when verifying payments made directly to other accounts.

These are all excellent measures that really show how the UK banking industry is starting to take the issue of fraud seriously, and making more of an effort to keep customers safe online.