Barclays to launch "finger-vein ID" scanner for more secure banking

In a move to make online transactions more secure, Barclays is launching a vein scanner for customers, The Telegraph reported.

The lender in joint efforts with Japanese technology firm Hitachi plans to develop a biometric reader that would scan a customer's finger to access accounts, rather than a password or PIN.

The biometric reader, plugs into a customer's computer at home, and using infrared radiation scans blood flow in a person's finger. The user would then need to scan the same finger a second time for confirming his transaction. Each ''vein profile'' would be stored on a SIM card inside the device.

A number of banks in Japan are making use of vein recognition technology which is being used by some banks in Japan and elsewhere at ATM machines, however Barclays claims to be the first bank globally to use it for significant account transactions.

According to Barclays it would ramp-up in its use of biometrics to provide safer verification systems that lessen risk of fraud risks from customers sharing or choosing obvious passwords, or forgetting PINs.

Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays personal and corporate banking, said, biometrics was the way to go into the future.

According to Vaswani, Barclays was improving technology and security, as criminals getting more sophisticated.

With "finger-vein ID" readers customers can junk their pin numbers, passwords and authentication codes and instead access their account with just a scan of their digit, The Guardian reported.

The new biometric machines scan the unique vein pattern that lies just below the skin surface of everyone's fingers, rather than looking at finger impression.

The users would need to only plug the device into their computer and put their finger in the hole to be get instant access to their account.

The finger vein reader only works with a live finger with blood running through its veins. According to Barclays, a severed finger could not be used to criminally access an account.

The machines would, for starters be sent to Barclays' 30,000 corporate customers in 2015, but if successful, the technology would be extended to millions more customers.

Poland already has 2,000 ATMs fitted with finger-vein readers that effectively replace the chip on a bank card and promise "cash within your finger".

According to a Barclays spokesman, unlike fingerprints, vein patterns were extremely difficult to spoof or replicate.