VeinID helps Barclays combat identity fraud by reading the patterns of clients' fingers.

Photo Credit: Barclays

Photo Credit: Barclays

Barclays announced that they will be using a new security method to help protect clients from identity theft. Beginning in 2015, corporate banking clients will use finger scanners to access their accounts instead of desktop card readers, PIN codes or phone authentication.

Wired reports that the device was developed by Hitachi's Finger Vein Authentication Technology (VeinID). It will work by reading sub-dermal patterns in the client's finger. This method is said to be more reliable and quicker, taking only two seconds to authenticate.

Each VeinID device has near-infrared (NIR) LED and a monochrome CCD camera sensor to force veins to appear as dark lines in images — a result of the red pigment in blood absorbing the NIR light. The image is stored on a SIM card, which is used by users to authenticate themselves, ensuring no biometric details are stored on a central database.

"We have shown the technology to a range of businesses and the interest and enthusiasm for the product is tremendous," Barclays Personal Banking CEO Ashok Vaswani said. "The technology has also been tested by Hitachi for many years and it will be game-changing for UK businesses and consumers. Ultimately, I hope this will pave the way for other institutions to adopt equally robust technology in the fight against online crime."

The company says the device has a false acceptance rate of one in a million, and fast rejection rate of 1:10,000. Unlike other fingerprint sensors, VeinID isn't affected by shedding or dead skin, and needs the finger attached to a living human body to work.

Barclays has other biometric authentication systems already in place for business customers, such as voice recognition during phone banking. 

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