Credit Industriel et Commercial de Paris is testing a device designed to make telephone-based banking transactions more secure.

The device, known as the Banking Token, is a small plastic disk that consumers press against the telephone handset during a transaction. The disk emits an encrypted signal that augments a personal identification number as a means for identifying a caller.

Such a device addresses many of bankers' concerns about the security of phone-based financial transactions.

The French bank believes the Banking Token is the type of device that can differentiate it from competitors and, perhaps, move market share.

The $18 billion-asset bank initially is using the token for two applications.

The first of these, known as the Filbanque vocal service, allows 24-hour telephone access to bank accounts.

The second application enables bank customers to relay stock purchase and funds transfer orders to bank personnel.

CIC believes its experience with these pilots will eventually lead to allowing bank customers to use their tokens to secure phone-based purchases of goods and services.

Such purchases could include transportation tickets and insurance policies, the bank said in a written statement.

The token is part of an effort to bring banking services to wherever the customer may be located. Helping the bank in this effort is French consumers' increased use of wireless telephones.

CIC will run a test of the Banking Token for four months. It will then decide whether to roll the product out to its entire customer base.

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