A Step Too Far For Your Bank Transaction?

Sometimes it can be a little bit tedious to go through all of the security questions when attempting to complete a financial transaction online.
We know that it’s necessary and for our own protection but how far would your be prepared to go to safeguard your cash?

Would you be prepared to swallow a device or have an identification object injected or embedded under your skin?

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal this month PayPal’s global head of developer advocacy Jonathan Leblanc believes that it’s a real possibility that we are not far away from using embeddable, injectable and ingestible devices for identification for things like our mobile banking transactions!

Biometric Security Is Already Here

Biometric security measures such as fingerprint recognition are already here. Testing and pilot programs are reported to be already under way among the big financial players.  In the U.S. MasterCard is reported to be working with First Tech Federal Credit Union to launch a biometric authentication and verification pilot this year that could use facial and voice recognition and fingerprint matching to verify the identity of customers.

Closer to home in March this year the Halifax Building Society publicised a potential move into biometric security which would involve asking their customers to wear a Bionym technology wristband that will them by their heartbeats.

Attracting New Customers?

The advantages of using embeddable, injectable and ingestible devices is that they seem likely to be more secure, you always have them with you, you can’t lose them and they don’t rely on you having to memorise and a recall something.  In other words, these devices could reduce human error as well as crime.

According to a study by Visa Europe these new biometric identification methods could even attract new, 16- to 24-year-olds, the majority of whom said they would prefer these methods to password or PIN, and find existing security irritating. 

A 2014 study by Intelligent Environments also seemed to support the idea that biometric identification could be a popular move by banks with 52% of consumers surveyed saying that they want banks to integrate fingerprint scanners into digital banking apps. Only 29% of people in the same survey however favoured electrocardiogram heartbeat monitors.

Moving From The Outside In

Paypal’s Jonathan Leblanc recently told the U.S. Computer Weekly publication that he sees the future of identification methods moving from fingerprint recognition to internal functions such as vein recognition (something that PayPal are already reported to be testing). There are even predictions of using devices planted in the brain and devices powered by our own stomach acid!

Is This All Really Necessary?

The demand for greater security, particularly where our bank accounts is concerned is unlikely to fall.  According to thisismoney.co.uk the ten biggest online scams in 2014 lost the UK over £670 million and in a Get Safe Online survey just over half of the 2075 people who took part said they’d been a victim of online fraud at some point. 

With thieves and scammers using increasingly sophisticated methods and being able to be ever-more distant from the scene of the crime, and with existing identification methods looking a little shaky it’s clear that something has to be done to stay ahead of the game. Whether that extends to allowing a device to be implanted into your body however may still sound a bit like the stuff of science fiction.