Bank to Scan Customers' Veins for Payments

by Nikhil Joseph 0

While the payments industry is going gaga about the revolutionarypotential of Apple Pay (the subject of an upcoming Mercator viewpoint), it’sworth remembering that Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanning technology is onlyone method of biometric authentication. It’s not clear yet if this is the bestway of authenticating transactions on a smartphone, given the security flaws uncovered in the previous iteration of Touch ID onthe iPhone 5. Barclays has come up with a new solution that it thinks is betterthan fingerprints—vein patterns.

“Finger-vein readers are to be used by bank customersto access their accounts from next year in a drive by Barclays to combat fraud.The biometric device, which can read and verify the user’s unique vein patternsin the finger, will initially be available to corporate banking clients.Barclays said that by scanning their finger, customers will be able to accesstheir online bank accounts and authorise payments within seconds, without theneed for PIN, passwords or authentication codes. Unlike finger prints, veinpatterns are difficult to replicate.”

The recent securitybreaches at Home Depot and Target, along with report of personal data beingcompromised on various cloud based services like iCloud have increased interestin developing the next generation of authentication tools, ones that don’t relyon fallible passwords and security questions. Biometrics is certainly a keypiece of that puzzle, it remains to be seen which approach becomes the industrystandard.

Overview by Nikhil Joseph, Analyst, Emerging Technologies, Mercator Advisory Service

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