Barclays, Hitachi develop new finger vein scanner for business banking

Barclays has collaborated with Hitachi to develop the Barclays Biometric Reader (BBR), a new finger vein scanner designed to help businesses securely and conveniently access their banking facilities.

By using infra-red technology, the Barclays Biometric Reader identifies the user by scanning their unique finger vein patterns.

Considered to be much more secure than a fingerprint, the finger vein scanner eliminates the need to remember PINs or passwords, said Barclays. Furthermore, it also removes the risk of identity fraud, PIN capture, or sharing of account details.

Barclays corporate banking digital banking head Martin Runow said: “The new and improved Barclays Biometric Reader is much more portable and even more secure. Our clients are increasingly mobile and the advances we’ve been able to introduce will allow them to securely manage their accounts wherever they are.

“This device aligns with our aim to redefine Digital Banking by putting client experience at the core of everything we do, making it easier for our corporate clients to run their business.”

According to the British investment bank, the Barclays Biometric Reader improves on the first version by adding a ‘Sign What You See’ (SWYS) activity screen which acts as an additional safeguard against fraud.

The SWYS activity screen shows written instructions to the user describing the activity being authorised. Through this approach, the activity screen is said to give an additional layer of security in case of a compromised computer and manipulation by a fraudster of the details of the activity requiring authorisation.

The Barclays Biometric Reader also supports Bluetooth wireless connectivity, which is another key improvement compared to its predecessor device. Barclays claims that the connectivity makes it easier for users to handle their banking without having to connect the finger vein scanner physically to their computer.

The new Barclays finger vein scanner uses Hitachi’s VeinID technology

The bank said that despite adding the activity screen and wireless connectivity, Hitachi has managed to make the new finger vein scanner smaller than its predecessor. This Hitachi achieved by adapting its VeinID technology used for scanning the finger vein, said the bank.

Hitachi Europe security business group general manager Ravi Ahluwalia said: “Both companies have worked together tirelessly to create this new device and we are delighted that our innovative VeinID technology will continue to help Barclays corporate customers conduct their business, using the most secure and easy to use biometric authentication technology available in the market.”

Barclays said that there is no public record of the user’s vein pattern and that the bank does not store the vein pattern on their systems.

The Barclays Biometric Reader will be available from early 2020 to corporate banking and business banking clients who use the bank’s Barclays.Net and iPortal digital channels.