Bahrain’s Eazy Financial Services is about to make biometric banking a reality in the region thanks to a new partnership with Ithmaar Bank, with the organizations announcing that Ithmaar customers will soon be able to access ATMs with a simple fingerprint scan and PIN entry – and no need for a physical bank card.
It’s a major step forward after Eazy’s announcement in the spring of last year that it had teamed up with NCR Corporation to develop a naked payments system that would allow individuals to make purchases with only a fingerprint scan. In announcing the ATM initiative with Ithmaar, Eazy made no mention of NCR; but the organizations did note that they have financial backing from the ‘Tamkeen’ Labour Fund, and the Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, Khalid Al Rumaihi, offered laudatory commentary, asserting that Eazy and Ithmaar “are truly showcasing Bahrain as a hub for innovation.” Al Rumaihi added that the collaboration lines up with the government’s “strategy to encourage innovation that supports high value job creation in the Kingdom.”
The Executive Director of the Central Bank of Bahrain also expressed enthusiasm for the project, calling it a “forward-looking partnership” that will deliver “tangible, real-world results – ahead of similar initiatives across the region – while maintaining the overall safety and soundness of the financial system in Bahrain.”
The praise from such institutional authorities may go some way toward ensuring that Ithmaar customers are comfortable embracing the new biometric ATM access technology.
As for the technology itself, Eazy has not indicated its source, but asserted that its central Automated Fingerprint Identification System has been “deployed and implemented in many countries around the world for both civil and forensic applications.” Eazy says it plans to implement the new biometric ATM system “as early as Q1” of next year, albeit in a phased deployment.
September 19, 2018 – by Alex Perala