BiometricsBiometric technologies adopted by more Australian banks

Published 12 October 2012

The use of face-recognition biometrics technology will soon become main stream in Australian banks, and may even be used in conjunction with other technologies; in a survey, 79 percent of Australians said that they were comfortable with fingerprint technology replacing banking PINs

Australian banks to implement face recognition technology // Source: resimlihaber.com

The use of face-recognition biometrics technology will soon become main stream in Australian banks, and may even be used in conjunction with other technologies according to Dr. Ted Dunstone.

ANZ Bank CEO Philip Chronican said that the bank is exploring ways to introduce biometrics as a replacement for traditional identification methods such as Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) at ATM machines.

ZDNet reports that in a survey commissioned by the bank, 79 percent of Australians said that they were comfortable with fingerprint technology replacing banking PINs.

Face-recognition biometrics are currently being used in other countries such as Europe, South America, and Japan.

Chronican feels that PINs and signatures are easy to duplicate and get a hold of while biometrics provides a more secure verification process for banking. Chronican expects that it will be “probably two to three years before we get commercialization of biometrics in banking.”

The best way to ensure security is to use biometrics with traditional verification methods. “Basically, I would not recommend single factor biometric authentication — so, just a fingerprint or iris scan,” Chronican told ZDNet. “That means, we would need to introduce either biometrics and a card, or biometrics and a PIN.”

NFC-enabled smartphones can be used as an alternative to PINs and cards for this purpose.

You can use the mobile to validate who you are at an ATM, with fingerprinting to verify that you are the correct holder of the phone,” Dunstone told ZDNet.

ANZ is moving forward biometrics in its banking system, but other Australian banks have been hesitant. The National Bank of Australia introduced a voice biometric system for its telephone banking system in 2009, but has since has done little in the way of biometrics.

We continue to investigate the application of biometric technology, however, we maintain nothing can substitute knowing your customer and building strong relationships.” an NAB spokesperson told ZDNet.

Certainly, within two to three years it’s possible for the banks to roll that out in a limited sense,” Dunstone said. “Obviously, there are a lot of integration issues that need to be worked out, and so on, but I would expect to see this type of technology to start appearing in the financial services industry.”

Fingerprint and palm scanners will most likely be the favored choices for banks, according to Dunstone, and new technology has made these methods more accurate than ever before, so the margin of error in reading a hand or fingerprint is lower than before.

These new methods will not be cheap, but they will make banking easier for customers as well as make them feel safer about their money. “When you are rolling out something to a large clientele in an existing network, the integration components are not going to be cheap, but the component technology itself has fallen significantly in price, while the quality has vastly improved,” Dunstone said.

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