Thumbprints as an authentication tool
The banking industry has seen some far-out ideas about biometric authentication measures.
Some have suggested that palm scans are the way to go to authenticate ATM users. Another company has proposed using users' heart beat as a tool. The idea is to translate a human heartbeat into an encrypted key security system using electrocardiograph (ECG) readings.
A slightly more practical biometric-like approach comes from the Mekong Development Bank, which has launched a thumbprint-enabled debit card, perhaps the first of its kind to be actually commercialized.
It works like this, according to American Banker: "A user presses his or her thumb on a scanner on the ATM to access funds and account information. The scanners make sure customers' prints match those held on file at the bank. Temenos provided the biometric feature as a modular upgrade to Temenos' T24 core banking system to which MDB converted in January from an older proprietary system."
The idea seems to be taking off in Vietnam anyway. MDB says the thumbprint feature has led to a tripling of its current account base and twice-as-high deposit balances per debit cardholder. In addition, about 90 percent of new debit card customers have chosen the thumbprint method over the standard PIN. It will be interesting to see if any U.S. banks move down this route.
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