Online Banking Uses Vein Pattern As Login


A British bank is introducing finger scanners that work by recognizing a pattern of veins rather than a fingerprint. It’s taken from a trial of the technology on ATMs in Poland.

The idea of Barclays Bank is for the machines to be plugged into computers and replace the need for passwords or PIN codes. At first it will be made available to corporate customers, with plans to roll it out to consumers if all goes well.

The USB-connected scanner, made by Hitachi, will work by using near-infra-red light to scan the veins inside the middle of the finger. The haemoglobin in the veins will partially absorb the light, making the vein pattern readable. Using veins rather than a fingerprint means the system will only work with a live person’s finger.

The first time a customer uses it, they must scan two fingers (one as a backup), with the pattern stored on a SIM card in the machine. This card is then used as the checkpoint for future logins, meaning the details of the pattern don’t leave the machine and aren’t accessible by the bank.

According to Barclays, although vein recognition is already used on a small scale in Japan and Poland, this is the first time it’s being rolled out globally for online banking.

Barclays hasn’t confirmed the cost of the scanners, but will ask corporate customers to make a contribution. It plans to work on making the scanners cheaper and smaller so that it can go on to offer them as a free or low-cost service for consumers.

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