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Barclays launches “finger vein” reader


Barclays and Hitachi have today launched a new, futuristic way to for customers to access bank accounts, using only their finger. A device about the size of a tennis ball is plugged into a computers USB port and an infa-red light checks the unique pattern of veins inside a customer’s finger. They will then be able to access their bank account without having to use passwords, pin numbers or electronic number generators.

The device is the product of banks trying to combat fraud as technology gets more advanced, and customers becoming frustrated with having to remember lots of logins. Only a living finger will be able to be scanned, again reducing the risk of fraud by copies or duplicates being made. The scanner is different from fingerprint technology, and its recognised as one of the most secure biometrics systems in the market. Barclays will not keep a record of the customers’ vein pattern and there will be no record of it on any systems.

The scanner will first be introduced to Barclays corporate clients, and if successful the device could be launched to its customers in the near future. This is a move similar to Barclays use of voice biometrics for some of its customers to identify themselves on phone calls recently. Chief of Barclays personal and corporate banking, Ashok Vaswani, said:
“We have shown the technology to a range of businesses and the interest and enthusiasm for the product is tremendous. The technology has also been tested by Hitachi for many years and it will be game-changing for UK businesses and consumers.
Ultimately, I hope this will pave the way for other institutions to adopt equally robust technology in the fight against online crime.”

With more and more consumers adopting new technologies into their day to day life, soon enough “finger banking” could come become a reality in bank branches, cash machines and even homes across the UK.

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