A cookie is a very small text file often used by websites to store relevant text data for later use. Typical uses include authentication, shopping cart contents, user's preferences etc.
A cookie is harmless. To quote from Wikipedia, Cookies are not software. They cannot be programmed, cannot carry viruses, and cannot install malware on the host computer.
Of course, technology is often open to abuse and cookies have received bad press as they are used by advertising websites to track a user's browsing activity (known as third-party or tracking cookies) and then display targeted adverts.
Cookies relate to any data, including personal data, and send information back to any website that you visit that recognises the cookie stored in your device.
There are several different types of cookie used for different purposes. Some of these are for our benefit, to help us improve our website and improving the user experience. Others are to ensure security and help prevent fraud and are strictly necessary to the operation of functionality (requesting content to load on a webpage/a service over the internet) requested by you.
Cookies are stored on single devices, therefore if you are accessing the same webpage from multiple devices (phone, iPad, and laptop for example), you need to set your cookie preferences for each device. e.g. If you say no to cookies on your laptop, your phone will still use them unless you have said no to them on your phone too.
Cookies can be a ‘Session Cookie’, or a ‘Persistent Cookie’
Session Cookies are only operational for the duration that you are accessing a website. Once you close your browser, the cookie is deleted. These types of cookies are normally used for ensuring security when you connect to the webpage, or to save things you do for that session, such as items you add to a shopping basket.
Persistent Cookies remain stored in your device until they expire (some cookies have an expiration date), or until you delete them. These types of cookies are usually used to capture your behaviour when you access a website, such as how long you spend on a page, which pages you have viewed, as well as your preferences for marketing and advertising.
We take security very seriously and employ tried-and-tested techniques to ensure that only you can access your data.
We use Google Analytics to collect information about visitor behaviour on our website so that we can improve our services. Google Analytics stores information about what pages are visited, the devices used to visit them, how long people are on the site, how they got here and what they click on.
You can find out more information here.
We use third party cookies to help improve functionality and performance. These third party cookies are managed by Appcues.
You can find out information about their cookies here.
This list is not an exhaustive list, and the type of data will depend on specific websites, and the purpose of the Cookie:
We work hard to cater for the cookie preferences of our customers, but some of the functionality required to use our services securely, particularly in relation to authentication and signing in, is dependent on cookies. If you choose to disable cookies via your web browser when interacting with our services, which you are welcome to do, you may not be able to sign in and/or use our services.
Most modern browsers allow you to enable cookies for individual sites and you can usually block all third-party cookies.
Last updated July 2019.