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Access your bank accounts – using your fingertips

Access your bank accounts – using your fingertips

Category: Banking

Updated: 05/09/2014
First Published: 05/09/2014

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Technology has completely transformed the way we bank. Not only can we conduct our everyday banking transactions on the go, but we can transfer money to friends and family using a simple mobile phone number. And now, it looks like technology could be changing things again – Barclays will soon be implementing systems that will allow some customers to access their accounts using just their fingertips.

The bank is set to introduce "finger-vein ID readers" – biometric scanners that will identify individuals using the unique pattern of veins in their fingers, rather than asking them to input passwords and number combinations. The scanner can be plugged directly into the customer's computer to allow instant access to their accounts, but customers must first register a finger – ideally the index finger, says Barclays – and preferably a back-up digit should the first one be indisposed.

The unique vein pattern of the finger will be stored on a SIM card that's put into the device, and to ensure security – and safety – the scanner won't work unless it's a live finger with blood running through the veins, so criminals won't be able to access accounts with a severed digit.

It's touted as being another way to help combat fraud, and will no doubt be an appealing idea for customers who are fed up with needing to remember multiple passwords and PIN codes, or use number generators simply to log-on. Users will simply have to place their finger on the scanner when prompted, and if approved, access will be allowed in seconds.

The technology will initially be offered to Barclays' business customers from 2015, and if the trial is successful, it could be rolled out to its retail customers thereafter. However, users will be charged a fee to use the service, so time will tell how popular it will be.

Nonetheless, it's set to be quicker, simpler and more secure, and is just another example of how much technology is changing the way we bank. The question is, what's next?

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Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.