Security and fraud prevention

We are working harder than ever to keep our customers safe and secure. It is vital we protect their money, personal information and the services they rely on.

Across the financial industry, criminals continue to exploit compromised data, and obtain customers’ security information through social engineering and, on occasion, use this to pass our security checks. The impact of scams on our customers has also continued, as the methods used by organised crime groups evolve and become more sophisticated. At the same time, our customers and NatWest Group continue to face the threat of fraud.

In response to these threats, we are continually improving our security, using innovative new features for our customers as well as collaborating with peers across the industry. As part of this approach, we have upgraded our payment profiling system and are moving towards the use of machine learning technology to help identify unusual activity. In 2020, our security systems detected and stopped 572,665 instances of fraud against our customers with a value of over £252.3 million in the UK (*).

How we have improved our security

We have continued to implement new and innovative capabilities within the Group to protect our data and our services. New tooling allows us to identify anomalous behaviour on our network and on our systems, and allows us to monitor malicious activity directed at the Group.

Multi-factor authentication

We’re making it even safer to shop online. When customers are shopping online somewhere new, or spending more than usual, we will sometimes ask them to enter a one time passcode (OTP) that we send via text message.

In 2020, we introduced an even more secure way to confirm that it’s the genuine customer making a purchase. If we spot an unusual transaction on a debit or credit card, we’ll ask customers to open their mobile app and use their face-ID, fingerprint, or passcode to confirm their identity. They will be able to see the transaction amount and where it was made, and decide whether to approve or decline it.

Free security software

We began our first offering of Malwarebytes security software to a pilot group of our customers and staff in 2019, and following that, we successfully delivered a method to extend the promotion of it via Online Banking in April 2020.

Adoption rates have quickly reached our initial target. As at 31 December 2020, the program has been downloaded over 145,000 times and further efforts are planned to increase awareness amongst our customer base.

We actively support STEM education (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) to encourage school pupils to engage with these subjects and careers. We collaborate with Skills Development Scotland and others to host interactive events to bring these subjects alive, providing an insight into the wide variety of careers available within the technology and cyber industry.

How we keep track of our security needs

We innovate and collaborate with peers to keep up to date with any developments in the world of physical and cyber security, so we can anticipate threats and improve our responses if needed.

We work with law enforcement, government and other agencies to share intelligence on emerging threats and security events.

Read about how we respect and protect our customers’ privacy.

Read more about how we create value for our stakeholders (PDF 70KB)

(*) Limited assurance provided by Ernst & Young LLP.