Russia’s Leto-bank looks to deploy ATMs with fingerprint authentication

November 21, 2012 - 

Leto-bank, a subsidiary of Russia’s VTB, plans to deploy ATMs equipped with fingerprint scanners to authenticate its customers when banking at a machine.

These new biometric ATMs will dispense cash as soon as they verify their identity, completely eliminating the need for a bank card. These new ATMs will first be tested at Leto-bank’s customer service centers, according to a member of the bank’s management board, Russia Beyond the Headlines reports.

“We will invite our customers to have their fingerprints taken when they apply for our services,” board member Pavel Gurin said in the article. “Identification by fingerprint will be one of the ID options, as long as the customer agrees to having their fingerprints taken. This enables us not only to cut our risks but also safeguard our customers in the future.”

According to an RT video report, these new machines could be in use in Russia as early as next year, though there are significant concerns regarding cost and privacy.

“While financial experts say it could seriously reduce theft, customers are not happy with the idea to leave their fingerprints at a bank. Besides, the innovation would cost banks millions of roubles and it’s believed only big market players could afford this,” the report continues.

Quoted in the Russia Beyond the Headlines article, Maskim Emm, executive director at Peak Systems thinks the benefits of these new ATMs need to be weighed before they are implemented.

“The thing is that they are slightly more expensive than regular ATMs, and, besides, only this bank’s customers are entitled to use them,” Emm said. “Leto-bank’s customers will hardly be running around looking for that special ATM just to use their fingers.

It would be great if all banks agreed to introduce this ID option. As of today, it is more important to test whether people are ready to use this service and whether they trust it; whether the costs will be offset by risk mitigation and whether there will be less fraud and thefts.”

The concept of biometric authentication for banking is a growing conversation. As reported previously in, the National Australia Bank has opted to use voice recognition to authenticate its customers, though it deems the technology more secure and reliable than fingerprinting.

What do you think? Is fingerprint authentication a safe and reliable solution for banking at an ATM?

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About Adam Vrankulj

Adam Vrankulj is an editor for His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj