Barclays launches vein recognition for online business banking
08 September 2014 17:52 GMT

Barclays aims to give business customers both security and convenience using vein biometrics

In a major endorsement for the use of biometrics in customer-facing banking, Barclays, in partnership with Hitachi Europe, is to launch finger vein authentication technology (VeinID) for customer authentication. By simply scanning their finger, customers will be able to access their online bank accounts and authorise payments within seconds, without the need for PIN, passwords or authentication codes.

The technology will be initially available to Barclays Corporate Banking clients from 2015. The compact device can read and verify the users’ unique vein patterns in the finger, helping to combat identity fraud experienced by UK businesses.

Hitachi’s VeinID technology is already used by banks for password replacement, single sign on and ATM machines, in Japan, North America and Europe. Its advantage over fingerprints, is that vein patterns are extremely difficult to spoof or replicate.

How secure is vein recognition?

Vein recognition is a biometric that has traditionally been seen as difficult to hack or spoof, as the biometric patterns created by the vein structure in a person’s finger are hidden from view. However, the technology is not without its issues. Swiss researchers have now found a way to spoof a vein recognition device, albeit not a commercial sensor by one of the main manufacturers of such technology – predominantly Hitachi and Fujitsu.. To see how vein recognition has been hacked click here

The companies also claim that 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 the user’s vein pattern and there will be no public record of it.

The combination of vein biometric and secure digital signature technology in the Barclays Biometric Reader is claimed as a first for the global financial sector. Barclays says there is future potential for it to be introduced more widely in UK branch networks, bringing biometric technology to millions of consumers.

Barclays Biometric Reader

The launch of the Barclays Biometric Reader follows on from the bank’s successful 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, CEO Barclays Personal and Corporate Banking, said: “This solution is at the leading edge of innovation and is in direct response to client concerns about the threat of online fraud while making our customers’ lives easier through its convenience. We have shown the technology to a range of businesses and the interest and enthusiasm for the product is tremendous."

“Ultimately, I hope this will pave the way for other institutions to adopt equally robust technology in the fight against online crime.”

Koichi Nakai, President, Services Creation Division, Information & Telecommunications Systems Company, Hitachi, said: "In a world where cybercrime is on the rise, VeinID offers one of the industry’s most advanced authentication technologies ensuring businesses and their customers can stay one step ahead of fraudsters.”

More vein recognition articles can be accessed here


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