Interview: Thomas Bengs on Fujitsu’s new ‘pay by palm’ solution
20 November 2014 13:59 GMT

Fujitsu sees its palm solution as the answer to fast and secure payment processing.

By Craig Guthrie, deputy editor

Fujitsu today used its largest IT event in Europe to launch a palm-vein based biometric authentication solution which can used for cashless payment - PalmSecure ID Match.

At the Fujitsu Forum in Munich, the company launched a product that could emerge as another biometric-based payments challenger to the likes of Apple Pay and Zwipe Mastercard.

The PalmSecure ID Match device, a new authentication device that combines multi-factor authentication of card and pin with unique palm-vein scanning, will be globally available from 2015. 

The device comprises a PalmSecure sensor, a touchscreen and processor board with the latest ARM technology, plus a multi-card reader.

The device meets the latest EU directives by addressing security-sensitive scenarios across a wide range of sectors, including finance, retail and social security, says Fujitsu.

While Apple Pay and Zwipe Mastercard require biometric sensors to be embedded on a phone and credit card respectively - Fujitsu’s PalmSecure ID Match device doesn’t. The company also says palm vein authentication is better suited for public use than other biometrics.

Planet Biometrics gained an exclusive interview with Thomas Bengs, head of Security Solutions, ahead of the launch to discuss how this solution could shake up the world of biometric-based payments.

CG: What motivated Fujitsu to develop a ‘pay by palm’ retail solution?

TB: The awareness that convenience and security are often contradictory, and the awareness that these are also two parameters which are outstanding when it comes to current payment solutions. Fujitsu ID Match and Fujitsu PalmSecure Truedentity can solve these problems.

In addition, the need for innovative, fast and secured payment processing is permanently growing in the segments of e-commerce, online banking and cashless payment. Fujitsu is convinced that it can deliver a state-of-the-art solution by using its unique palm vein biometric authentication in combination with financial services. 

CG: Can you explain how the Fujitsu PalmSecure payment solution will work? Where will biometric data be stored, and how will the interaction with merchants be handled?

TB: There are different scenarios possible and Fujitsu is focusing on two of them.

One is to use Fujitsu ID Match palm vein based two-authentication factor desktop device to realize the payment process authentication locally directly on a device with template on card technology.

A second scenario uses the same palm vein-based Fujitsu ID Match desktop device to register users at the point of sale, and to store the palm vein template on his mobile phone.

Wherever the user needs to pay, and where ever a Fujitsu ID Match is available, for example in a shop, the user uses his mobile phone to transfer the biometric palm vein template to the Fujitsu ID Match. He scans his palm veins on the device, and the scanned data will be compared with the template transferred from the mobile phone.

CG: How will the enrolment process work for Palmsecure payment?

TB: Pilots and POCs we have done within the financial market segment clearly taught us to never allow an uncontrolled self-enrolment of biometric data for financial transactions.

We also learned that, depending on the country, there are different national rules in the direction of how to treat biometric information or how to perform financial transactions. In any of our biometric support financial transaction scenarios, the enrolment process needs to be done at the POS in a controlled manner.

CG: How does this product differ from the PulseWallet project that Fujitsu developed with Biyo last year?

TB: The Fujitsu ID Match in combination with Fujitsu Truedentity is a two-factor authentication solution.

It not only performs high-level biometric authentication with palm veins, it also secures the content to be transferred and the channels on which the content is transferred

CG: Why is palm vein technology superior to other biometrics for payments?

TB: Palm vein technology can be used by everybody without limitations. It has a high level of liveness detection incorporated and is well designed for public use. The original biometric information is not transferred outside the sensor itself, and the information is protected inside the body.

The matching and the registration process are very fast. Typically, biometric specifications are at the top for palm vein technology, and different tests by independent organisations have shown that Fujitsu PalmSecure technology is far superior to other biometric technologies for public use. The fact that it has approximately 200 Million users globally in different application scenarios confirms this.

CG: What advantages does the Palmsecure payment solution offer over other biometrics-backed payment plans – in terms of convenience and privacy? How will it fit in the market alongside solutions like Apple Pay and Zwipe Mastercard?

TB: With Fujitsu ID Match and Fujitsu PalmSecure TrueDentity we are trying to cover the whole payment process to keep it secure – not only cover the front-end scenarios of authentication.

In the first scenario I described, mobile phones can be used to store the biometric template, so they do not need to have a biometric sensor.

It is very important that we integrate all stakeholders of the payment process into a biometric solution and follow current and future international regulations for payment or financial transfers.

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