Insight & Analysis

Press release: Barclays and Hitachi launch next-generation finger vein scanner

Published: Nov 2019

20th November 2019 – Barclays has today unveiled its enhanced finger vein scanner, which will help businesses access their banking facilities securely and simply in seconds.

Newspaper press release

The Barclays Biometric Reader (BBR), developed in collaboration with Hitachi, uses infra-red technology to identify the user by scanning their unique finger vein patterns. Even more secure than a fingerprint, this innovation removes the need to remember PINs or passwords and eliminates the risk of PIN capture, identity fraud or sharing of account details.

The new device improves on the first version by introducing a ‘Sign What You See’ (SWYS) activity screen which provides a further safeguard against fraud. The screen displays written instructions to the user describing the activity being authorised, offering an additional layer of security in case their computer was compromised and a fraudster had manipulated the details of the activity needing authorisation. Another key development is Bluetooth wireless connectivity. This enhancement makes it easier for users to manage their banking without having to physically connect the scanner to their computer.

Despite the introduction of the activity screen and wireless connectivity, Hitachi have been able to make the new device smaller than its predecessor by adapting the technology used to scan the finger vein. These enhancements have been designed in response to direct feedback from clients around the need for technology that fits with their increasingly mobile working patterns.

The technology behind the finger vein scanner is Hitachi’s VeinID which is recognised globally as one of the most secure biometrics available. There is no public record of the user’s vein pattern and Barclays does not hold the vein pattern on their systems. Barclays’ digital banking system iPortal, which provides a single access point and sign-in for all services, has been designed to fully interact with the BBR, making the account management and payments process seamless for the end user.

The new device will be available to Corporate Banking and Business Banking clients who use the bank’s Barclays.Net and iPortal digital channels from early 2020.

Martin Runow, Head of Digital Banking at Barclays Corporate Banking said: “We’re committed to combating fraud. The new and improved Barclays Biometric Reader is much more portable and even more secure. Our clients are increasingly mobile and the advances we’ve been able to introduce will allow them to securely manage their accounts wherever they are. This device aligns with our aim to redefine Digital Banking by putting client experience at the core of everything we do, making it easier for our corporate clients to run their business.

Ravi Ahluwalia, General Manager, Security Business Group at Hitachi Europe Ltd. said: “This new deployment represents another milestone in our ongoing partnership with Barclays. Both companies have worked together tirelessly to create this new device and we are delighted that our innovative VeinID technology will continue to help Barclays corporate customers conduct their business, using the most secure and easy to use biometric authentication technology available in the market.”

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