Blog: Touch and Transact: Fingerprints are the New Password

October 11, 2018  |  MARCELO CASTRO

You’re on the run and grab your smartphone to check a message. You place your thumb on the home button and the screen unlocks. You quickly access the information you were looking for. You didn’t stop a second to type in a password. And, no one else can get into your phone with a simple touch—your fingerprint is unique.

Why can’t you use an ATM in the same way?

We know that fraud at the ATM is a real concern for customers. Skimming attacks are on the rise, card trapping can happen to anyone and fraud, in general, exposes vulnerable financial and personal information. A recent RBR Banking Automation Bulletin article found that a simple password to unlock an account doesn’t feel secure enough to 58% of consumers, who want biometric security instead.

Using a fingerprint to touch and transact at the ATM or inside a bank is a highly secure way to authenticate a person’s identity. After all, no two people have the exact same print. Biometric technology is an alternative authentication method that financial institutions can adopt for higher security standards and more convenient banking. But security, accuracy, ease of use and scalability are critical features a biometric system must provide to make this technology a trusted solution.

The good news: New advancements in biometric technology are making it possible.

Hands-On Safety and Convenience

The banking and retail industries are moving toward biometrics—touch and transact—because this technology addresses head-on today’s main identity theft and fraud concerns. Why? Biometrics authenticate the identity of an individual. Breaking down what this means, identification is when you claim your identity by using a bankcard. And authentication is the act of verifying, or proving, who you are.

The problem is, cards can be lost, stolen or forgotten. (Ever roll up to the ATM only to realize your card is at home?) And, when authentication requires providing information you know (a password), that’s also information that can be forgotten, transferred, uncovered or guessed.

But, when you must prove who you are using biometrics, the information is always with you. When advanced sensor technology is used, biological characteristics cannot be stolen or replicated. And, biometrics are convenient, so they can be used as a secure alternative for passwords or a PIN code.

Ultimately, consumers want to know their money is safe. They want to access funds easily so transactions can be simple. And, they want to know their banks are keeping up with the technology they’re already beginning to use in everyday life. (If my iPhone lets me into my personal information with a thumbprint, why can’t I take money out of my bank account the same way?)

For financial institutions, biometric technology can reduce fraud and ensure that customers are properly identified. Biometrics improve customer experience and loyalty, and can allow banks to deliver new features and tailored services.

Advancing Biometric Technology

How can you securely authenticate a fingerprint no matter the weather, lighting or simple human variables (dry or wet skin, soft fingerprints)? The fact is, not all biometrics are created equal. Not all biometric systems use anti-tamper sensors, or take multiple images of the fingerprint’s surface and subsurface.

There could be an opportunity for fraud if certain key characteristics are not in place. Recognizing this, our Enhanced Fingerprint Reader was designed with safeguards that make the system convenient, scalable and completely secure:

  • Live finger detection: Without this, it’s possible that someone could steal a fingerprint. A multispectral imaging (MSI) sensor protects against human skin spoofs and detects liveness.
  • Adaptive to wet and dry: What happens when your hands are wet, or if you have overly dry, rough skin? A biometric reader should be able to “dig deeper” beyond the surface fingerprint and identify the print in the sublayer of the skin. This is what we call, literally, a multi-layered approach, and not all biometric systems offer this feature. We think it’s imperative.
  • Detects soft fingerprints: As we age, our fingerprint ridges soften as collagen loses elasticity. It’s a natural, human fact of life. But this should not prevent access to accounts, which is why Diebold Nixdorf’s MSI captures fingerprint imaging beneath the skin’s surface. You can compare it to the two-step authentication, except it’s more secure as MSI learns your fingerprint inside and out.
  • Security: With secure communication and an active tamper detection build into the sensor, we prevent device substitution.
  • Scalability: The Enhanced Fingerprint Reader can be used with existing fingerprint databases collected with different imaging technologies. This means you can adopt this more advanced biometrics system and integrate it into your platform.

Find out why 140 million people across the globe are already using Diebold Nixdorf’s biometrics solution. With more than four billion ATM transactions processed annually using biometrics, we are a leader in connecting banks and consumers to solutions that are convenient and secure. Let’s talk.

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