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Game changing new addition to banking security

The Lifeblood of Banking: Security

Date: 08-09-2014
Author: Sam Totham

Are you tired of countless PINs, ‘online passwords’, and obscure security questions that you’re sure that you don’t know the answer to? Well, as usual, technology has a solution, it just remains to be seen if it can practically be put into use.

The new technology soon to be introduced in banking is now a scanner that identifies users based on the vein structure in their fingers. This is both similar to fingerprint scanners but also very different; the vein structures are unique to each person like fingerprints, but much harder to fake or copy. In addition, the new scanner uses near-infra red light that reacts to the haemoglobin in the veins and so requires the requisite finger to be alive and kicking (metaphorically).

Barclays is the only bank to be introducing this new system currently, and only to business customers at an extra cost, but should it prove to be a success then it could soon be integrated into a more widespread release.

The machine is roughly the size of a tennis ball and can be connected via USB to any computer, bank staff can register more than one member on the machine and so, like conventional security, it can be used to make payments by one staff member while another staff member is required to authorise the transaction. The system is obviously not of much use to online and mobile banking customers now, but as Barclays explains “For corporate clients who do a lot of large transactions, this makes a lot of sense.”

Barclays Vein Scanner


Hitachi, the developers of the machine, says that vein patterns are developed in the womb and remain stable throughout most of a person’s life. Theyare unique to each person and much harder to replicate due to complexity and the necessity for the veins to be “live”.

Barclays has been quick to reinforce the safety of the records for the vein patterns, they will not have a central record and the information will be encrypted when it is held in the scanners themselves.

Barclays plans to release the corporate scanners next year, but should they be able to scale down the size and cost of the scanners then they could be soon introduced into people’s homes, allowing for easy, no password access to banking.

Watch a short video about the scanner technology on the BBC News article.

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