Barclays Bank to introduce finger scans instead of PINs
Barclays is introducing new finger scanning technology that will allow customers to access their online bank accounts and authorise payments without the need for PINs or passwords.
Customers will be given a portable device that can read and verify the unique vein patterns in their finger in an attempt to combat identity fraud.
The Barclays Biometric Reader will initially be available to Barclays Corporate Banking clients from 2015.
Barclays said the technology is recognised as one of the most secure biometrics in the market. Unlike fingerprints, vein patterns are extremely difficult to replicate. It said the scanned finger "must be attached to a live human body in order for the veins in the finger to be authenticated".
Barclays will not hold a copy of the user’s vein pattern and there will be no public record of it.
The technology, VeinID, has been developed by Hitachi and is already used by banks for password replacement, single sign-on and ATM machines in Japan, North America and Europe.
Barclays said the technology may be rolled out to personal banking customers in the future.
Many banking customers have trouble remembering multiple PINs, internet and telephone passwords, usernames, identity numbers, memorable names, places, dates and so on.
Financial firms routinely refuse to protect customers from fraud if they write down banking details. They also forbid using online password managers, which store confidential details behind a central password.
The launch of the biometric reader follows on from the bank's introduction of voice biometrics for its Barclays Wealth customers to identify themselves on phone calls, removing the need for passwords or security questions.
Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays personal and corporate banking, said: "This solution is in direct response to client concerns about the threat of online fraud, while making our customers’ lives easier through its convenience."