Heartbeat seems to be the next impregnable key for secured online banking as per Halifax Bank, United Kingdom

Can human heartbeat be the possible safe key for secure banking? Halifax is conducting trials using the Heartbeat technology for secure banking

With Phone banking app on smartphone devices banking has become much easier and is just a click away from the users. However, with the hackers and cybercriminals all around on the internet sites, security of the net banking is one of the most important agenda on the banking forums. Hence Halifax Bank, a United Kingdom bank is experimenting on a new technology which uses customer’s heartbeat pattern to access the banking app on their smartphone. It seems at last customers will be able to get rid of the tedious PIN numbers and jumbled passwords which are required to access their bank accounts via smartphone.

How can Heartbeat be used as an Identity proof for a customer? The process is still under developmental stages however Simon Gompertz; personal finance correspondent to BBC News tried the system and gave inputs about this technology. As per Gompertz, user would need to follow these steps to authenticate their heartbeat as the Identity:

  • The user would need to wear an electronic wristband with sensors or “Nymi band” on their wrist just like a watch. Then the wrist band needs to be authenticated with the user’s heartbeat pattern. User would need to check their heartbeat pattern on a computer and then the ECG i.e Electrocardiogram will be stored on the wrist band through the sensors which are there on the upper surface of the band.
  • The next thing would be to get the band connected to the banking app on the smartphone. User needs to open the banking app and simultaneously activate the Bluetooth. Now first pair the wrist band with the bluetooth by tapping on the sensor on the wristband and once the pairing is successful the smartphone band gives a buzz and  3 LED lights on the wristband blinks. The heartbeat pattern of the user would be registered as Identity for the banking purpose by the banking app.
  • Now, whenever the user needs to do any banking transaction, user needs to put on the wrist band and they get an easy access to their bank account through their unique heart pattern.
  • If the band does not recognize the heartbeat it will stop the banking transaction.

Toronto-based technology firm Bionym, has developed this wristband and it has been already used by Royal Bank of Canada for trial purposes.  Lloyds Banking group which owns the Halifax bank feels that the Heartbeat ID technology is much better to the”IRIS scan” and “finger prints scan” because here a vital organ of the body is involved which can be a foolproof key to access the banking transactions with least harm from hackers and intruders.

A spokeswoman said: “You could fake someone’s fingerprint, but you can’t fake someone’s heartbeat.” In September 2014 the Barclays bank had tried its “Finger Scanner” for internet banking wherein user needs to put their forefinger in the portable  scanner and the “veins in the finger” is scanned and used as the Identity proof. Barclays bank feels this is a better security however these scanners are too costly and hence as of now is being used at corporate level and most probably in future users may get to use these scanners even at their residences for phone banking purposes.

The wristbands can be further used as swiping the door locks in future by putting the sensors to further use.

Overall, it seems that the advanced technology be it the “finger scanners” of Barclays Bank or the “Heartbeat ID technology” of Halifax Bank surely gives the users assurance that they can safely use the smartphone for internet banking. Well, having said that, for hackers and snoopers they will have to work harder now to find a loophole to get through these passwords and identity barriers unless they really plan to go for a heart transplant of a millionaire!!!

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