Secure Passwords (User Codes vs. Access Codes)

How secure are your Financial Institution’s internal passwords?  Auditors have recently been taking a closer look at the password requirements for employees at Financial Institutions that access customer accounts.

Strong passwords require a minimum length.  Eight has typically been the standard minimum length, but some experts are now saying 14 should be the minimum.  Passwords with a minimum of 14 characters may seem more difficult to remember, but creating a pass phrase can actually make remembering a longer password easier.  For example, “I love camping!” could be used with numbers or special characters inserted at the end or in between the words.  Another technique to strengthen a password is to use a word such as Banking and use a number or special character between each letter: “B1a2n6k8i9n7g$”.  This results in a stronger, more complex password because it is including characters from the four possible characteristics:  uppercase letter, lowercase letter, number, special character.

On the Fiserv Premier® system, there are two codes on the employee profile that can be used to log in to the system: User Codes and Access Codes.  The more secure code is the Access Code which allow passwords with up to 17 characters, compared to the User Code that has a maximum password length of 6.  Password requirements can be set for the Access Code to have a minimum number of characters including requiring characters from all four of the possible characteristics.

The latest Premier® update includes enhancements to the Security system to help Financial Institutions comply with the new standards. One of the new features allows the Financial Institution to have the ability to select if Access Codes are required to be used at all times. In most cases, both the User Code and Access Code are defined in the employee profile since User Codes may still be needed for certain applications.

Access Codes can be implemented to create a more secure environment within your Financial Institution.  Many banks have implemented Access Codes to comply with the new standards and Peak has experience with this process.  Please contact Peak at for more information.

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