JOHANNESBURG - A growing number of banks around the world have started deploying biometric solutions as part of their next-generation ATM roll-outs. As the world attempts to put an end to identity theft and reduce waste, fraud and abuse, the banking sector is making a real commitment to biometric authentication and intelligent identity management.

Biometrics, which can identify people by unique and measurable body parts such as fingerprints, is used at a number of ATMs across the world to improve access to secure and convenient transactions. Fraud is commonly committed by the use of stolen passwords, PINs or cards. With biometrics, people can now access their bank accounts with their fingerprints.

Most biometric systems have a “spoof detection” mechanism that can detect the likes of fake skin or bogus copies. The best systems can also accurately determine whether a finger is alive, or not, by collecting relevant “liveness” indicators from the subsurface of the skin. Liveness detection is a critical component for pension programmes to establish “proof of life.”

Certain biometric technologies look at the skin's subsurface with multi-spectral imaging technology which provides a good read on the first try by using information from the surface and subsurface of fingerprints in any condition. This type of technology is highly recommended for use at the ATM because it resolves performance issues when skin is old, rough, dry or worn-out.

As a result, proof of life can be established and security at the ATM can be increased with a simple, easy, intuitive touch of a finger. 

Claude Langley is a regional sales manager, Africa, HID Global Biometrics. 

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