The Impact of Biometrics in Banking

biometrics in banking

The rise in use of biometrics in banking is helping to better secure customer transactions to prevent fraud.Introduction

The rapid digitization of banking services combined with the continued need to adopt stricter customer and employee identification protocols to prevent identity theft and fraud has set the table for biometric identification technology to become an integral and strategic part of financial service security platforms. Acting as a strong authentication tool to help secure ATM, brick and mortar, and online transactions, biometrics in banking also helps to increase customer trust and improve brand reputation. The necessity for a stronger authentication solution became inevitable in banking services because of the growing pace of sophisticated transactional technology adoption along with the unfortunate rise in fraud and security breaches due to reliance on traditional security systems such as passwords.

Biometric Technology in the Banking Sector

Biometrics are automated methods of recognizing customers through their biological characteristics and traits such as fingerprints, finger vein patterns, iris, and voice recognition. Biometric characteristics are unique for every individual and difficult to forge, which is why biometric verification and authentication is commonplace in immigration control, law enforcement, and forensic studies. Many banks worldwide are already using biometrics with their banking systems to authenticate employees and customers and among all banks utilizing biometrics, 52 percent are located in Asia. Japan has more than an estimated 15 million customers using biometric authentication for banking transactions. Banks in Mexico, South America, Africa, and the Middle East are also moving towards the use of biometric identification technology because of its popularity with consumers, and ability to offer more security than traditional personal identification numbers (PINs) and passwords.

Figures – Proportion of Banking Using Biometric in Different Continents

biometrics in banking






[Source - Text Road Publication Report - 2012]

Different Ways to Use Biometrics in Banking

Biometric technology is slowly replacing traditional passwords and token-based electronic access, signature-based branch service access, and PIN-based access in mobile banking and at ATMs. Here are ways that banks can use biometric technology to improve banking services and better protect customer assets:

  • Biometrics in Branch Banking-

Financial service institutions are using fingerprint and finger vein biometrics in banking for customer identification in their branches because these two biometric authentication methods deliver fast results that are suitable for the busiest branches of a bank. Moreover, finger print and finger vein systems are user friendly, easy to use and ensure reliable security. When customers visit branches they can be authenticated at the counter through fingerprint and finger vein biometric scanners that match the customer’s existing biometric template within the bank database, and after successful authentication, the customer will be allowed to move forward with their banking transactions.

  • Biometrics  in Banking ATMs

Using biometrics in banking ATMs is popular in developed countries and the adoption rate is growing significantly. There are two approaches for customer authentication in ATMs — a customer using only biometrics and a bank card or a PIN along with biometric authentication. Therefore, facial recognition, fingerprints, finger vein patterns and iris recognition are the most suitable in ATMs as these biological traits can be easily authenticated in this environment.  Furthermore, these types of biometric modalities also have other advantages such as flexibility, compactness, and accuracy.

  • Biometrics for Internet Banking

Many computers, laptops, and even smart phones already have webcams, microphones, and fingerprint scanners, offering flexibility for banks to easily adopt biometric authentication in online banking services with fingerprint, finger vein, facial, and voice recognition. When customers attempt to access their account, some banks now require them to provide a biometric credential first. Some banks require biometric authentication beside the traditional password to make authentication stronger, also known as a “multi-factor” authentication system. This helps banking institutions to protect customer identities from being compromised by cyber criminals and any others trying to illegally obtain sensitive customer information to commit a crime.

  • Biometrics in Mobile Banking

Mobile banking is growing rapidly worldwide, and according to Juniper Research, 400 million people performed a mobile banking transaction in 2013. Despite this large number, many bank customers still have a lack of trust over the security of mobile banking platforms and concerns over security. Banking transactions or customer services could be performed through a voice or speech recognition system where customers need to verify their identity using the microphone in their phones.

  • Single Sign on Solution for More Effective Password Management   

Banks and financial institutions are suffering from network security and data breaches worldwide. According to a recent ACI Worldwide Survey, 44%of customer financial accounts have been compromised and 15% of breaches cause fraud. In a 2013 Ponemon Institute Survey, it was reported that an average cost of these types of incidents is $9.4 million. Banks can easily adopt biometric single sign on (SSO) solutions into their network for password management, identity management, data and network security, and two factor authentication. This system will eliminate vulnerable passwords and loopholes of a bank data security system and will protect both banks and customers from unauthorized access and data breaches. Furthermore, a biometric SSO system will mitigate other security risks and regulatory fines for government compliance.

Benefits of Using Biometrics in Banking

  • Protecting Banking Information – Biometric technology provides the strongest method of authentication that protects banking information from being compromised by unauthorized personnel.
  • Fast and Accurate Branch Banking – Biometric technology provides fast and accurate identification for the banking industry. Customers can be quickly authenticated in mere seconds through a fast biometric scan.
  • Protection Against Insider Fraud – Biometric identification of employees performing transactions on the back end is a crucial step to ensuring identity protection and reducing fraud. Biometrics in banking will help financial institutions to prevent insider fraud by establishing secure employee authentication, accountability and concrete audit trail of each transaction.
  • Secure Online Banking – Over the past years the banking sector has been suffering from massive online service cyber attacks. In most of these cases customers lose their money from the negative effects of identity theft. Biometrics in banking helps the bank to protect customer identities when using online banking services.
  • ATMs with Biometrics – Biometrics in banking for ATMs authentication brings outstanding benefits to both customers and banks. This system now gives customers flexibility to make transactions without bringing bank cards. Banks can avoid the costs and liabilities of customer problems due to lost or stolen bank cards.
  • Audit Trails – Banks can easily track and monitor employee and customer activity in the system to create concrete audit trails with biometric technology solutions.
  • Fast, Secure and Accurate Customer Care Service – The banking sector is always in need of tighter security solutions to provide improved and more secure customer care service over the phone and internet. A biometric voice recognition system for example provides a secure and flexible solution to verify any customers executing transactions outside of a brick and mortar environment.


Due to the role of customer trust and loyalty in the success of banks, and thus in the economic development of countries, banks should provide convenient and more secured banking services to customers. Biometric technology, integrated with an existing traditional security system, will empower banks to deploy the highest level of authentication security possible.

Liveness Detection to Fight Biometric Spoofing


our new M2-FuseID finger scanner uses sophisticated anti-spoofing technology and liveness detection.

Modern biometric hardware devices feature sophisticated “liveness detection” and anti-spoofing technology to prevent fraud and increase security.

The following post was written by Shaon Shahnewaz, Senior Executive in our Business Development & Interactive Marketing Department

Should we be wary of leaving our fingerprints behind? Circumventing biometric security access by spoofing the system – is turning from science-fiction to reality.


There have been times where we have seen in sci-fi movies that thieves are copying and spoofing biometric identification management systems to gain unauthorized access to valuable information. Extracting eyeballs, and lifting fingerprints to create rubber molds to successfully fool a biometric recognition hardware device in themovies that might look like a cool thing to do, but have you thought about the implications of it in real life? What if, for example, someone right now is trying to copy your biometric information and using it to spoof a biometric system to access your bank account?

What is Spoofing?

Biometric spoofing is a method of fooling a biometric identification management system, where an artificial object (like a fingerprint mold made of silicon) is presented to the biometric scanner that imitates the unique biological properties of a person which the system is designed to measure, so that the system will not be able to distinguish the artifact from the real biological target.

Are Biometric Characteristics Private?

Biometric spoofing is a growing concern. We leave fingerprints  everywhere in our day to day lives, so the chance of someone lifting them and copying them is real. Currently it’s only researchers that are doing spoofing and copying for testing purposes and it is not a mainstream activity–but it could be soon as more businesses and governments around the world adopt biometrics for identification management. Many people are trying to classify biometric physiological characteristircs as secret, but they aren’t. Our faces and irises are visible to everyone and our voices can be recorded. Fingerprints and DNA are left everywhere we go and it’s been proved that these are real threats to be replicated for the purpose of spoofing biometric systems.

Biometric Deployment Risks with Spoofing

Like any other security technology, biometrics has inherent weaknesses that can potentially compromise the security of a system. Susceptibility to spoofing attacks is just one of them. The implication of a biometric device’s susceptibility to spoofing attacks includes:

  • Artificial objects being used to mount attacks against existing enrolments in order to gain unauthorized access to the resources protected by the biometric system.
  • Artificial objects being used to authenticate thus fraudulently associating an audit trail with an unwitting individual.
  • Artificial objects being used to enroll in a biometric system and then delegating these objects across multiple individuals, undermining the integrity of the entire system.
  • An individual may repudiate transactions associated with his account or enrollment – claiming instead that they are the result of attacks – due to the inability of the biometric system to ensure liveness detection.

What’s the Solution?

Academic and industry experts have been researching methods to counter the threat of physical spoofing of biometric samples. In particular, various liveness detection methods have been conceived and implemented in some devices. Liveness detection is defined as biometric hardware devices that have the ability to look beyond the surface of the skin and can discriminate between the features of live skin and copies of those features in a fraction of a second. However, as every man made solution can be defeated, efforts to enhance and improve liveness detection remain a work in progress.

Recently our researchers here at M2SYS Technology developed a “smart” biometric finger scanner named M2-FuseID™, which is capable of distinguishing fingerprints made of artificial objects from a live fingerprint. The liveness detection technology they have introduced for this is among the most sophisticated in the world. Our researchers have  designed the M2-FuseID™ “smart” finger scanner by including  an extra liveness detection finger vein sensor just beside the regular fingerprint sensor in this advanced fingerprint reader. This advanced sensor can measure the liveness of the finger veins by identifying the presence of a live blood flow to detect whether the object it’s scanning for fingerprints is artificial or a real finger.

Benefits of Adopting a Liveness Detection System with M2-FuseID™

Our M2-FuseID™ smart fingerprint device with sophisticated liveness detection helps to minimize the risk against spoofing in the following manner:

  • It simultaneously looks at and beneath the skin surface for live blood flow in the veins of the finger.
  • Protects against fake and spoofed fingerprints.
  • Provides protection from published and unpublished finger copying methods.
  • Adaptable against future spoof threats.


Although biometric authentication devices can be susceptible to spoofing attacks, different anti-spoofing techniques can be developed and implemented that may significantly raise the level of difficulty of such attacks. Our M2-FuseID™reader with advanced liveness detection identifies the individual being scanned as alive or fake in fingerprint biometric security systems. It has all the potential to enhance security, reliability, and effectiveness of a biometric system and protect against unauthorized access.

5 Ways Biometrics Help Solve Crimes

biometric identification management used to help solve crimes

Biometric identification management technology advancements have made the technology important tool in the fight against crime.

The following guest post was submitted by Rebecca Gray, a writer from

Biometrics technology, once the stuff of idealistic or dystopian science fiction tales, has become a part of real life in the twenty-first century. Biometrics are used in areas as diverse as security for businesses, schools, government agencies, borders and airports; patient identification in hospitals and blood banks; voice control of electronic devices; and criminal investigations. While many people may think of biometrics in terms of face, voice and iris recognition, there are many other types of biometrics in use or in development as well.

One of the most fascinating uses of biometrics is in crime solving. While real life procedures don’t quite match the television depictions of biometrics usage in crime labs, crime-fighting organizations and crime labs have some pretty impressive technology at their disposal. In the past few years the FBI has been moving to a new system that improves the accuracy and performance of its existing setup, while adding more biometrics, including enhanced fingerprinting, palm scans, facial recognition and iris scans. It’s going to take a while before all of the Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies update their systems to work in sync with the FBI’s, but that day is coming. In any case, here are some ways that biometrics are being used to help solve crimes in the real world – today and in the very near future.

1. More accurate fingerprinting makes a big difference at crime scene investigations. Fingerprints are still more accurate than facial recognition for identifying individuals, and the FBI has spent more than $1.2 billion to replace its older fingerprint matching system, the Integrated Automated Fingerprint ID System (IAFIS) with its Next Generation Identification (NGI). In NGI the ten-print system has been significantly improved because of a more powerful server farm and enhanced recognition algorithms. The matching accuracy rate has risen from 92 percent to 99 percent, and the average response time has dropped from two hours to ten minutes – at least under controlled conditions, such as at a police booking station. However, latent fingerprints – the fingerprints found at a crime scene – are considerably more difficult to match. The old system, IAFIS, had an accuracy rate of only 25% and wasn’t very effective for investigators. But the upgraded NGI capabilities launched in May 2013 have had an accuracy rate well above 80 percent for latent prints. And once again that is due to an improved algorithm that takes advantage of more computer power, according to Jon Kevin Reid, assistant section chief in the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division.

2. Palm capture gives investigators an additional investigative tool. The FBI launched a national palm-print database in May 2013, which is expected to be a big help to investigators, as palm prints are left at crime scenes 30 percent of the time. “There will be significant leads around cold cases that we couldn’t have gotten before,” the FBI’s Reid says. Getting the system up and running has been a bit of a challenge because some states, such as Michigan, have been running palm prints for several years, but the FBI has imposed requirements on palm print submissions that most states aren’t meeting. NGI requires that in palm capture, the entire hand must be captured, not just the palm as states such as Michigan had been doing. Running the entire hand is crucial so it can be matched to fingerprints in the database. In addition many local and state law enforcement agencies will have to upgrade their equipment. Once these kinks are worked out law enforcement agencies will have yet another tool for crime solving.

3. Facial recognition is providing good investigative leads, and will only get better as the technology improves. Despite the flashy displays of facial recognition technology on the crime shows, face recognition is a far from perfect way to make a positive identification of a suspect. As noted above, fingerprints are still more accurate. Nevertheless in 2012 the FBI launched the Interstate Photo System Facial Recognition Pilot project in three states, and as of June 2014 the system was fully deployed. It allows participating law enforcement organizations to use face recognition to search against more than 15 million mug shots, returning a ranked list of potential matches by using algorithms to search for a match. The system matches the photo taken at the booking station or from a crime scene with mug shots in the NGI database that have a high probability of being a match. At the very best it is 80 percent accurate, but since the quality of mug shots varies so widely the accuracy rate is often significantly lower. But the Michigan State Police have found facial recognition to be very beneficial in attempting to identify unknown subjects who commit crimes of identity theft and fraud, according to Pete Langenfeld, manager of the department’s digital image analysis section. Even so, he cautions, “Any candidate derived from a facial recognition search should be considered an investigative lead only, and not positive identification.” That said, as more agencies adapt facial recognition and learn to standardize the quality of their mug shots with facial recognition technology in mind, accuracy should improve.

4. DNA can identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent. It wouldn’t be a crime show without a scene where a defiant suspect is obliged to submit to a DNA swab. Indeed, DNA has been a powerful tool for crime solving, and is generally used to solve crimes in one of two ways. When a suspect is identified, a sample of his or her DNA can be compared to evidence from the crime scene. When a suspect has not yet been identified, biological evidence from the crime scene can be analyzed and compared to offender profiles in DNA databases in order to help identify the perpetrator. In addition, crime scene evidence can be linked to other crime scenes through the use of DNA databases. Not only can DNA evidence identify the offender, it can also exonerate someone who was wrongfully accused.

5. Iris recognition, gait recognition and scent detection: the future is (almost) now. The FBI’s NGI system is gearing up to also incorporate iris detection, and, in the future, gait recognition and scent detection. Although some of these biometric markers have limited use in crime scene investigation – for instance, irises are rarely left at crime scenes – these additional tools can help law enforcement quickly identify criminals and terrorists in the U.S. and around the world.

Biometrics is continually being improved, with new applications being developed. Naturally there are numerous concerns and controversies about biometrics, including privacy issues and potential abuse of the technology, as well as accuracy concerns. But advocates believe that the benefits outweigh the risk. In any case biometrics is here to stay, and for those who work in crime solving, that’s a very good thing.

For an enlightening overview of biometrics history and some modern-day applications, see this PowerPoint presentation from a keynote delivered by Michigan State University’s Anil Jain at the International Conference on Biometrics in Madrid, Spain on June 5, 2013.

For more information and resources, visit the web site of the Biometrics Institute, an international organization that represents and connects biometric user organizations, vendors and researchers.

Author Byline:
This guest post is contributed by Rebecca Gray, who writes for She welcomes your comments at her email id:

M2-FuseID™ “Smart” Biometric Finger Reader Achieves FBI Personal Identity Verification (PIV) Certification

M2-FuseID is a multimosal biometric finger reader that simultaneously captures a fingerprint and finger vein pattern.

Our brand new M2-FuseID™ multimodal “smart” finger reader achieves FBI PIV certification.

With great pride we announced today that our brand new M2-FuseID™ “smart” multimodal biometrics finger reader that allows end users the ability to simultaneously capture a fingerprint and finger vein pattern with a single scan and offers sophisticated liveness detection to prevent forgery and spoofing has achieved FBI PIV certification and meets quality specifications for civil ID and other commercial applications.

Significant in that PIV certification is viewed by the industry as a key characteristic to provide assurance and piece of mind to end users of biometric identification management systems that a hardware device meets or exceeds FBI interoperability standards and quality specifications, the M2-FuseID™ reader is poised to make a significant impact on deployments that require the highest levels of security and accuracy such as civil ID and banking/financial services.

The innovative M2-FuseID™ smart finger reader was conceived, designed, and built by M2SYS staff with the goal of delivering a more sophisticated fingerprint scanner that delivers optimal security, reliability, and accuracy with advanced finger imaging and modern “liveness” detection to alleviate spoofing and fraud.

A link to the news release can be found here:

Congratulations to the M2SYS team for this achievement!

Brazil Using Facial Recognition Biometrics at 2014 World Cup

facial recognition is protecting World Cup 2014 fans

Brazil is using facial recognition at the 2014 World Cup for safety and security

The following post was written by Tanvir Ahmed, SEO Executive with M2SYS Technology

The whole world is watching as the FIFA 2014 World Cup is being held in Brazil at eighteen locations throughout the country. FIFA 2014 offers much more for Brazil than simply athletic entertainment because of their rich and varied sporting history in the game.

The Brazilian government started preparations for this much awaited and world renowned event years ago and it is the second time the country is host country (last time it was held in 1950). Thirty two countries will be competing in the event, the first time the tournament will be held in South America since 1978.

Security issues in Brazil

Following the announcement that the country would be hosting the tournament, Brazilian sports minister Aldo Rebelo admitted the 2014 World Cup might face some serious security issues as more than 3.7 million (600,000 international fans and three million Brazilians) people are expected to travel throughout Brazil in the 2014 World Cup season.

Riots rocked Rio de Janeiro’s famous Copacabana Beach district last month and fears about safety for thousands of football fans visiting Brazil were heightened by the fatal shooting of a man during a clash with police close to the England team hotel in São Paulo.

In fact, robberies that lead to homicide have hit a nine-year high in São Paulo.

Planned security measures include facial recognition biometrics

The Brazilian government has invested over $900 million to take adequate security measures so the tournament can be one of the most protected sports events in history. FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke promised “the highest level of security you can imagine” will be put in place during the competition.

Investment in security technology include facial recognition systems and unmanned robots which have  already been deployed in all world cup stadiums to support an integrated security plan  developed to gain information from several sources about a documented watch list of troublemakers, hooligans, and potential terrorists.

Facial recognition

Facial recognition technology has already proven to help improve security and protect fans at events as large as those attending the World Cup. The Brazilian government has already purchased facial recognition cameras capable of capturing 400 facial images per second to store them in a central database of up to 13 million faces.

They have also deployed video security systems at stadiums in preparation for the FIFA world cup. The set up includes over 250 IP security cameras, operated through a video management system with integration to the building management system, as well as ticketing access control.

Whenever a fan enters the arena, their ticket is indexed with a picture taken by the surveillance system, to enable facial recognition identification if it’s needed.  Recognition is facilitated through a powerful back end facial recognition identification algorithm.

Unmanned robots

The Brazilian government also purchased 30 security robots previously used by the United States armed forces and some other large military forces in the world to improve public safety during the tournament. It costs nearly $3.5 million each for those small unmanned ground vehicles equipped with ‘Robocop-style’ glasses with face recognition cameras which are capable of providing surveillance, bomb removal, and other law-enforcement missions.

These multi-rolled bots have already proven useful for a variety of law enforcement applications in many countries, such as the inspection of potentially dangerous areas and objects, the removal of suspicious devices, and the detection of chemical and explosive agents.

The Aftermath

Face recognition technology might reduce the security threat in World Cup since a face is undeniably connected to its owner except in the case of identical twins. Faces are nontransferable and the system can then compare scans to records stored in a central or local database or even on cloud based database.

Law enforcement agencies in many countries have already started using facial recognition technology to identify criminals. Because it is widely using as a crime fighting tool, businesses are trying to expand the use this technology also for more practical applications which include employee and customer identification. But the question is, is facial recognition ready for the masses?


The Brazilian military will also operate Hermes 450 drones (unmanned surveillance aircraft) which will be on the lookout for any suspicious activity during the tournament. As the world watches Brazil augment its security efforts with the use of facial recognition biometrics, it’s just matter of time to see  whether this new technology will prove to be effective in the effort to increase security and protect fans.