Barclays brings finger-vein biometrics to Internet banking
Gone are the days of fumbling with desktop card readers, phone authentication, and PIN codes as a finger scanner will be available to wealthy corporate banking clients from 2015, and the rest of us surely soon after.
The device, developed with Hitachi’s Finger Vein Authentication Technology (VeinID), will read the subdermal patterns of the client’s finger vasculature in order to combat identity fraud. Vein pattern recognition holds several advantages over fingerprint scanning, including reliability and speed, with the authentication taking only two seconds.
Each unit houses a near-infrared (NIR) LED and monochrome CCD camera sensor, so as the red pigment in blood (hemoglobin) absorbs NIR light, veins appear as dark lines on the resulting image. This pattern is cryptographically stored on the SIM-card sent out by Barclays and used to authenticate the user on their next login, with no biometric details stored on a central database.
The Hitachi H1 VeinID finger scanner is the size of a tennis ball. You can see the SIM card slot in the base of the device.
Hitachi’s system boasts a false acceptance rate of one-in-a-million and a false rejection rate of 1:10,000, owing to advantages over regular fingerprint scanners. Whereas dead skin and other detritus can get in the way of fingerprint sensors, VeinID is allegedly impervious to human shedding and (morbidly) requires a human finger attached to a living, blood-pumping body to work.
The technology is already in use at specific banks across Japan, North America, and Europe, but this is a first for home or remote office use. Barclays already employs other biometric authentications for business customers, including voice recognition during phone calls to replace passwords or security questions.
“We have shown the technology to a range of businesses, and the interest and enthusiasm for the product is tremendous,” said Barclays Personal Banking CEO Ashok Vaswani. “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.”
This story originally appeared on Wired UK.