Road2BUP: Commerce – 3 Deployments of Biometrics in Finance

It’s the Road to Biometrics UnPlugged and throughout July we are talking about the intersection of biometrics and commerce. Last week we took a look at the convenience that comes to the end user when biometrics are applied to personal banking matters. Today, we are going to examine some real life deployments in the biometric finance arena.

1. Brazilian Biometric ATMs

In Brazil, you fingerprints can gain you access to your bank account at ATMs, and that is in large part thanks to Lumidigm and its multi-spectral imaging. Though Brazil is not the only region that Lumidigm serves with this technology, the Latin American nation has more than 50 thousand biometric ATMs that use the company’s fingerprint sensors.

So, what is it about Lumidigm’s fingerprint recognition that makes it work well in a banking deployment like this? It’s proprietary multispectral technology is key here.

Lumidigm sensors use different wavelengths of light to capture fingerprint images, both on the surface and the subsurface. In terms of real life usage, this means that a bank’s customer doesn’t need to worry about dirt or scarring obscuring the features of her print. The technology also helps keep the sensors working in inclement weather. This means that the added assurance of biometric sensors doesn’t come at the cost of an ATM’s usual convenience.

In advance of last year’s FELABAN CLAB conference, Lumidigm’s director of Latin American sales, Juan Carlos Tejedor, summarized the situation perfectly: “Banking applications require superior biometrics performance and advanced spoof protection for unattended operations like those required at ATM terminals. Our business partners are also looking for a technology that can perform reliably under a wide variety of environmental conditions and duty cycles and Lumidigm’s technology was designed specifically for excellent performance in all situations.”

2. Mexican Phone Banking

Today, banking needs to be more accessible than ever to meet the demands of the customer. With mobility on the rise you’d think this would be an easy need to meet, but recent research from Deloitte shows that security concerns are hindering the adoption of mobile banking apps. Thankfully, for the remote banker without a computer at hand, biometrics are helping make account management over the phone easier and more secure than ever.

Nuance Communications has just recently put its voice biometrics to the task in Mexico. The Vocal Password – Nuance’s active voice biometric solution – has been deployed at Banco Santander México. This will effectively replace PINs, passwords and security questions in the bank’s automated phones system.

When a customer phones in to the bank’s IVR system, instead of tedious security questions and easily compromised PINs, a customer just needs to say “at Banco Santander, my voice is my password. The caller is then authenticated, having provided enough data for Nuance’s solution to authenticate (or, in the case of a fraudulent call, reject) her.

3. PayPal and the Samsung Galaxy S5

In the mobile world, biometrics are being applied to payment in new and ultra-convenient ways. It makes sense too: with payment options constantly evolving to make things easier on the customer any new payment innovation needs to offer less friction than a credit card. New announcements in strong mobile authentication have even moved Visa to consider new innovations in card-on-file payment.

One deployment of biometric mobile payment that is making shopping via smartphone possible is the PayPal app that leverages the Samsung Galaxy S5’s fingerprint sensor as an authorizing factor for online payments. Using FIDO Alliance specifications, the app allows for PayPal transactions to be made from a smartphone with the swipe of the correct finger, rather than requiring passwords or PINs. In addition to making payment easier on mobile devices, this is the post-password paradigm in practice.


Stick with findBIOMETRICS all summer long as we continue down the Road to Biometrics UnPlugged. Have an urge to keep this discussion going? Follow us on Twitter and use the hashtag #Road2BUP to let us know your thoughts on biometric deployments in finance.

July 17, 2014, by Peter B. Counter