Bank Advert Teaching Bad Habit

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This is outside the usual scope of Arteki, but I wanted to draw attention to a banking advert, embedded below. If you can’t see the video, please ensure you are viewing this article on and are using a Flash-capable browser with the latest version of Flash installed.

No one in this advert is shown to cover their PIN while entering it. To me, this is a poorly thought out video. ATMs tell us to cover the keypad while entering our PINs and yet Barclays, who have won awards for security, have produced an advert that teaches the complete opposite. It doesn’t just fail to show the keypad being covered, you can actually see the PIN that’s entered.

Users are the weak point in security and should be encouraged to keep their PINs safe. Yes, you need more than a PIN to access someone’s funds, but cards are still easy to clone due to the magnetic strip for backwards compatibility.

Not only is the PIN shown in this advert, entering PINs is the theme of the advert. Had it not been, I wouldn’t be so concerned.

Can people be easily influenced by such a short clip? I would say yes, especially on a subconscious level. It wasn’t until the advert ended (albeit a shorter version) that I realised the blatant disregard for security. People may not think they are paying attention to the advert, but the catchy beeps are there to draw attention. Adverts are designed to get stuck in your head, so the behaviour presented may well stick too.

Any thoughts or opinions on this?

As an aside, as a (student) programmer I find it frustrating that improvements are always being made to the computer aspect of banking security, yet a bank as high profile as Barclays can’t be bothered to show secure behaviour in an advert.

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