During the past several years, consumers have started to see noticeable technological advancements in the realm of information security. One of the most notable changes has been the introduction of effective biometric scanners.
Thus far, most of our online accounts and financial activity have been secured by passwords and PINs, both of which have well-documented security flaws. However, owners of the latest iPhones are becoming accustomed to devices that are secured by a fingerprint scanner. Other mobile device makers have plans to follow suit, with some engineers predicting that passwords will become obsolete in just a few years.
The advantages of using a biometric scanner for security are clear. Unlike passwords, your biometric indicators belong to you and you alone, and cannot be imitated without a high degree of difficulty. For this reason, many financial institutions are looking into additional applications for this promising technology.
ATMs with built-in iris scanners being tested in the U.S.
If you’re like most people, you probably have little experience with iris scanners outside of the latest Mission: Impossible movie. But if one company has its way, that may soon change.
Diebold, based in North Canton, Ohio, is working with Citigroup to test out ATMs containing iris-scanning biometric technology. The idea is that instead of swiping their ATM card and entering a PIN, customers will sign into a mobile app, choose how much money they want to withdraw, and then scan their eyes at the machine to complete the transaction. Initial news reports suggest that the process could take as little as 10 seconds.
“This is part of the growing awareness of biometrics and biotechnology in daily life,” Richard Harris, Diebold’s vice president of new technology, incubation, and design, toldCBS News. “Citi is looking from the consumer perspective to see what customer acceptance would be with this kind of technology. They are looking to see what customer acceptance is around biometrics, to see where acceptance of biometrics is in the U.S. population and around the globe.”
Other financial institutions are close on Citibank’s heels. The Wall Street Journal reports that J.P. Morgan recently demonstrated a cardless ATM, while Bank of America has tested similar machines and plans to introduce a pilot program for the next year.
If biometric security at ATMs becomes a success, it could help reduce incidents of identity theft. Thieves have a history of placing card skimmers at ATMs, which can read the information on them without the user realizing what is happening. The solution is to eliminate the need for a card altogether.
Still, there are many other ways to become a victim of identity theft, and it’s important to take proactive action. If you have concerns about identity theft, be sure to invest in a credit monitoring service, which can notify you of certain activities in your credit and personal information files that may indicate fraud. credit monitoring is just one way to keep an eye out for ID theft and services like Identity Guard’s Total Protection plan can provide identity and public record monitoring to help keep you safe on multiple fronts.