Biometrics beneficial to banking sector

August 30, 2012 - 

The banking industry has used authentication measures for clients to access their accounts and other banking services, which includes PINs, tokens and signatures. Now, the question is: Will North American banks eventually use biometrics to authenticate its clients?

For nearly a decade, Japanese banks have used biometric authentication using vein pattern recognition from Fujitsu for security purposes, and recently reported that the Philippines will use biometrics to verify provision of government pensions. But so far, the use of biometric authentication is not widespread in the banking sector, especially in many advanced countries. Biometric verification and authentication have been used mainly to track employees. However, customer-oriented biometric authentication is rare.

There are factors to consider before banks adopt biometric technology. The driving “push” factor for adoption is that biometric technology shortens transaction time. It provides security unlike other measures used. Using biometrics can prevent crimes like Internet fraud, money laundering, and identity theft.

Detracting factors for installing biometrics is cost when compared to projected benefits. Installing biometrics throughout a whole network of bank branches requires millions of dollars. Also, banking culture needs to be considered. Recently, a coalition of trade unions representing about one million workers at Indian public sector banks had a two-day nationwide strike to protest against pending legislation that could open the sector to increased investment, competition and technology. The efficacy of employing technology than can eliminate staffed positions will need careful considered. But technology can also be an enabler for customers, in terms of speed and efficiency.

The bottom line is there is a willingness at banks to explore the use of biometric authentication. The question is: How quickly will banks employ that technology for their front-end operations?

With files from T’ash Spencer

Will biometric authentication be quickly integrated into banking services in North America?

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About Rawlson King

Rawlson O’Neil King is a contributing editor at and is an experienced communications professional, management consultant, trade journalist and author who recently published a book about control and electronic networks and who has written numerous articles in trade publications and academic journals about smart home and building technologies. Follow him @rawlsonking2.