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Japanese bank palms off customers with biometric ATMs

“You are the cash card”, apparently

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Japan-based Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank is claiming to be the first in the world set to offer its customers the option of using ATM services without the need for a cash card or passbook, thanks to palm-scanning biometric technology from Fujitsu.

The technology works by mapping and identifying the unique pattern of veins in the user’s palm. Although biometric scanners are used in some Japanese banks already, they don’t allow users to authenticate via this method alone.

With the tag-line "You are the cash card", the technology will be rolled-out from September in ten branches including the major city of Nagoya, as well as a drive-through cashpoint (yes, they have them too) and two mobile banking units.

Ogaki Kyoritsu – which is a regional bank centred in Gifu prefecture west of Tokyo – was quick to point out that a card-less authentication system could have helped survivors of the recent Tohoku earthquake and tsunami who, having lost cards and passbooks, were stranded unable to access their accounts.

One of the bank’s mobile units operates as a “rescue” bank for just such occasions.

The system is pretty straightforward. Initially the user must associate their palm scan with their account by inputting PIN and birth date, after which time they are free to access their account via the scan alone to withdraw or deposit money or check account balance, the bank said.

For those that can read Japanese, the original release is here.

This isn’t the first time Ogaki Kyoritsu has tried to innovate with its ATMs. In 2005, it reportedly introduced a fruit machine-style game to encourage punters to use its cash points. ®

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