Barclays is set to enable corporate clients to authenticate transactions using finger vein recognition technology, as the bank aims to replace passwords and PIN numbers with biometrics for all customers in future.

The Barclays biometric reader, due to launch for business users next year, will allow treasury and accounts staff to access online accounts and authorize payments in seconds by placing their finger in a small scanning device that connects to a laptop or PC via USB, said a report in

The technology, based on Japanese manufacturer Hitachi's VeinID system, uses near-infrared light to detect the flow of blood through veins, and is said to be more accurate and difficult to replicate than fingerprint scanning, said

The system will be available from 2015, and the bank, which recently launched a voice recognition system, expects that biometrics will eventually be extended to its 12 million retail customers – such as use at ATMs.

Barclays said the system offers security advantages over traditional authentication practices, and can help prevent fraud. For example, in some cases business customers – which may be authorising multimillion pound payments - will share PIN numbers and passwords between staff, which can be stolen and used fraudulently, said

Barclays claims the chances of the reader incorrectly authorizing a scan attempt are approximately one in a million, and users are allowed up to 20 attempts before the device is locked.

The biometric data is stored on a personalized cryptographic SIM card within the device – and not on Barclays’ internal systems.

Barclays and Hitachi claim that the biometric reader is the first to be used by a UK bank. However the technology has been deployed by lenders in different countries. BPS Bank and Podkarpacki Bank Spoldzielczy have also used Hitachi’s technology since 2010 to allow retail bank customers to withdraw funds from ATMs, and finger vein biometrics have been adopted in Japan, America and parts of the Middle East.

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