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CRA Update: Introducing the new multi-factor authentication passcode grid

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Source: Canada Revenue Agency

The Canada Revenue Agency is committed to protecting the personal and tax information of Canadians by making the multi-factor authentication (MFA) security feature accessible to all users. As of September 26, 2021, the new MFA passcode grid is now available to all online account users.

What is the passcode grid

The CRA has been gradually implementing MFA as an enhanced security measure throughout its sign-in services. Our passcode grid is another option that Canadians can now use to authenticate themselves when signing in to My AccountMy Business Account, or Represent a Client.

A passcode grid is a table made up of numbered rows and lettered columns, similar to a Bingo card. Instead of receiving a one-time passcode through SMS or voice message to gain portal entry, users who select the passcode grid option of MFA will be prompted to provide information from their unique grid each time they sign in to one of our online services. The CRA will ask for combinations (i.e., B,1 ; A,3) and users will need to match the column and the row to provide the 3 letters that are shown in the square. The CRA will ask for three of these combinations each time a user signs in to CRA’s sign-in services.  

*Note* We encourage users to save or print a copy of their unique passcode grid but that they not email it to themselves or anyone else.

Who can use the passcode grid

The passcode grid is available to all online account users as an alternative way to use MFA. The passcode grid aims to support any users that would prefer not to or are unable to authenticate using their cell phone or landline.

How to add it to your CRA online accounts

Users can add multi-factor authentication to their CRA sign-in services by selecting “Multi-factor authentication settings” under CRA security options. In their multi-factor authentication settings, users can then choose to have their unique passcode grid created by selecting "Generate a passcode grid".

For those accessing information and services on behalf of individuals and businesses in Represent a Client, they must go on the "Review and update RepID" page and select the RepID information tab. From there, users can access the "Manage your multi-factor authentication settings" tab and then select "Generate a passcode grid".

The sooner you add multi-factor authentication, the more you can benefit from the enhanced security features when using our digital services.

What does it mean for you if you’re already enrolled in MFA

Our new passcode grid is an additional authentication option available to all users. Canadians who already enrolled in MFA with a cell or landline phone number can also add the passcode grid in the “Multi-factor authentication settings” of their CRA sign-in services. Please note that if you have more than one multi-factor authentication option enabled for your account, you must select your desired default in order to be prompted to authenticate with your preferred option next time you sign in.

Where to find more information

To learn more about multi-factor authentication and the passcode grid, visit Canada.ca/cra-multi-factor-authentication.

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