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next generation security: chipTAN

One reason to have a German bank account is the convenience and security provided with their online banking. Doing your own ACH wire transfers to any account in the world is a feature that most bank customers in the USA don't even ask for - because the eye can't see what the mind doesn't know.

Currently online banking transactions in Germany are secured using the iTAN method: you receive a list of TANs from your bank in the mail. Whenever you initiate a transaction online you will be asked to provide one TAN from the list. Each TAN can only be used once. If somebody happened to know your bank, your account number, the routing number, your online banking password, and get a hold of your TAN list, they could empty out your bank account. 

Several banks have now implemented the new, more secure, chipTAN technology - I am impressed!

chipTAN.jpgI had the opportunity to see the new technology in action on a real live wire transfer. Here's how it works: You purchase a small box, the code sender. Once you register that device online, activate your bank account for use with chipTAN and insert the chip card (EC card) that is assigned to your bank account into the device, you're ready to generate your own TANs on the fly.

After you enter the details for a banking transaction you will be instructed to hold your code sender up to a flickering graphic on your computer screen. The transaction details will be shown on the sender and after you confirm accuracy a TAN will be displayed. Type that into the application on your computer, hit submit - done. Now crooks would need to get a hold of your chip card and the TAN generator in addition to all the other details to gain access to your account. That's highly unlikely.


Albanese Candy Factory

Just a few days ago I was made aware of an amazing company in Northeast Indiana. Albanese Candy makes gummis from 100% USA grown ingredients. The factory is right here in Indiana too! No outsourcing anything to China. I support that, and I love gummi bears.

GummiBaer-1.jpgAlbanese gummis are quite different from the Haribos I grew up with. They are softer, bigger, come in more colors, and have a more intense taste. You'll recognize an Albanese gummi bear by the 'A' on its belly. 

19:30 Posted in 06, Having Fun | Permalink | Comments (0)


the Art of the Handshake

One of the more noticeable differences in culture between Germany and the USA is the handshake, or lack thereof. At work in Germany I would shake hands with people a lot more often. Haven't seen each other in a week? Well, that calls for a handshake! Going to not see each other for a week or longer? Time to shake hands for a farewell! Going into a meeting with colleagues from a different department? Shaking hands with everybody demonstrates good manners!

Americans shake hands less frequently. Actually, you will shake most people's hand no more than twice: once when you are introduced, and once when you say good-bye forever. While I admit that I had a hard time adjusting to this at first - feeling rejected, because people didn't want to shake hands with me - I was recently made painfully aware of the advantages of not exchanging a handshake with people. Especially if they haven't been educated on how to do this right.

I had an encounter with a knuckle cruncher, an occasion where my self-control was challenged to the point that I almost let out a high-pitched shriek of pure agony. Two days later my right hand is still very tender to the touch. Good thing I won't have to shake hands with that person again for a long time.


12:08 Posted in Opinions | Permalink | Comments (2)