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You put your right finger out….

The original Hokey Pokey may have you shaking all about, but the biometric version most certainly does not. Instead of asking people to do strange things with their body parts, biometrics brings a swift solution to consumer security across banking, government and healthcare, writes GREG SARRAIL.

In South Africa, access to bank accounts needs more security. Consumers are asking for institutions to step up and place rich layers of protection over their cash, but they are equally keen on not having to go through the rigmarole of security checks before they can access their own money. A strong and secure link to an authorised individual is, of course, their biometric fingerprint. As unique as the person who has it, each fingerprint ensures that only the person to whom the accounts are allocated can access them.

For the banks this reduces fraud, waste and abuse and aligns their security protocols with national ID programs. Not only does it provide banks with security, but government benefit disbursement can be done far more securely and the funds are guaranteed to go to the right person. This is particularly relevant to those who struggle to remember PIN numbers, and those who can be easily defrauded by others.

Of course, the other advantage of using biometrics in the banking environment is that there is no barrier to entry. Fingerprint sensors are extremely easy to use, and very convenient. The registration process is handled by the financial institution, the consumer need only place their digits on the biometric device and they’re sorted. The system is designed to ensure that people gain maximum convenience within the strictest privacy protocols as well. Now imagine this technology at your local ATM?

Speaking of which: your local ATM probably has a written warning about how criminals are operating in the area and to please watch your PIN. Not to mention the risk of key loggers and video recorders at the terminal. Those who are not technically proficient or au fait with the latest scam or card fraud techniques are easy game.

However, in the case of fingerprint biometrics, no matter how often a person is filmed placing their finger on the pad, the criminals can’t copy their fingerprints or gain access to their accounts. And the old myth about severed fingers is just that, a myth. No self-respecting biometric device is without a liveness detection system or anti-spoof software and these technologies immediately eliminate any chance of macabre hacks of the Halloween kind.

There is no language, literacy, race, gender or age barrier to use fingerprint biometrics. Once enrolled, anyone from the most rural to the most urban areas can instantly use the technology to access or protect their assets. It’s one of the fastest growing security solutions on the market today with an estimated market reach of $16.47 billion in the USA by 2017, surpassing US$ 2.7 billion in India by 2019 and rapidly gaining traction in South Africa. It’s here and it’s finally that simple and secure solution people have been looking for. No need to stick your left leg out, just tap the fingerprint sensor‚Ķ

* Greg Sarrail, Vice President Solutions Business Development, Lumidigm

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