Barclays to scan vein patterns to combat fraud

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Finger-vein readers are to be used by bank customers to access their accounts from next year in a drive by Barclays to combat fraud.

The biometric device, which can read and verify the user’s unique vein patterns in the finger, will initially be available to corporate banking clients.

Barclays said that by 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. Unlike fingerprints, vein patterns are difficult to replicate.

The bank is using Hitachi’s VeinID device, which is already used by banks for password replacement, single sign on and ATM machines in Japan, North America and Europe.

Barclays said there was potential for the product to be introduced more widely in its UK branch network.

Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of the bank’s personal and corporate banking division, said the device was at “the leading edge of innovation”.

He added: “We have shown the technology to a range of businesses and the interest and enthusiasm for the product is tremendous”

Barclays said 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 bank recently introduced voice biometrics for its Barclays Wealth customers to identify themselves on phone calls, removing the need for passwords or security questions.

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