Biometrics in banking is expected to take off in the next few years, said Dr Ted Dunstone, Biometrics Institute’s technical committee chairman. Its use in banking will become mainstream in the near future, and may even be used in conjunction with other technologies such as NFC.
ANZ Bank was exploring ways to introduce biometrics as a replacement for traditional payment identification methods, like PIN codes at ATMs.
A survey conducted by the bank showed, 79% of Australians said that they were comfortable with fingerprint technology replacing baking PINs. A simple reason is that PIN codes and signatures are easy to replicate, while biometrics provides a more secure verification method for banking.
Fingerprinting or palm scanning would probably be the favored choice for banks, Dunstone said, and new technology has made this method more accurate than before. Earlier this year, Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank in Japan introduced palm vein scanners to several of its ATMs.
Deploying biometrics technology is not a cheap endeavor, but it will not be “prohibitively” expensive, Dunstone added.
“When you are rolling out something to a large clientele in an existing network, the integration components are not going to be cheap, but the component technology itself has fallen significantly in price, while the quality has vastly improved.”
While ANZ’s CEO saw a future where fingerprints could replace PIN codes, the reality is that traditional identification methods still need to work in conjunction with biometrics to ensure security, Dunstone said.
“Basically, I would not recommend single factor biometric authentication — so, just a fingerprint or iris scan,” he said. “That means, we would need to introduce either biometrics and a card, or biometrics and a PIN.”
Even the palm readers used by Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank require users to input a PIN. But NFC-enabled smartphones can be used as an alternative to PINs and cards for this purpose.
“You can use the mobile to validate who you are at an ATM, with fingerprinting to verify that you are the correct holder of the phone,” Dunstone said.
Dunstone also pointed out that fingerprinting technology has come a long way since it was first introduced. Anti-spoofing capabilities have drastically improved, and even if thieves do obtain a person’s fingerprint details, it would be very hard for them to make artificial fingerprints to mimic real fingers, he said.