Barclays brings finger vein biometrics to internet banking (Wired UK)

Barclays’ Michael Mueller demonstrating use of the VeinID finger scanner


Barclays today announced the
arrival of personal biometric scanners
to keep your internet banking security firmly under your thumb.

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 sub-dermal 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 (haemoglobin) 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.”

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5 September 2014 | 1:00 pm – Source:

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