ATM machines have most certainly changed the way we use cash. They’ve changed the way we think about our money, handle our money, and use our money. It’s no longer necessary to walk around with a stack of bills in your wallet because chances are you can use your card just about anywhere, or at the very least find an ATM nearby. This is good news when it comes to a lost or stolen wallet, assuming you use your card for most purchases. Less money in your wallet means less money to lose. But then again, when a thief gets their hands on your credit or ATM cards, chances are there’s still going to be trouble for your bank account.
The abundance of ATM machines in public places has provided many more opportunities for theft, and crooks have duly taken note. Personal identification numbers can deter theft to some extent, but if someone is determined to take money from you, chances are they’ll succeed. The only thing between a thief and your money is your PIN number, which is only a four digits code. And much to the thieves’ advantage, many people keep more-than-obvious codes like birthdays and consecutive numbers which are easy to remember. When it comes to theft, PINs can only do so much.
Well, Poland has recently taken firstnewswallet measures to protect their citizens and has installed biometric security, finger-scanning ATM machines. In fact, it’s the first nation in Europe to install the machines that read biometric identifiers rather than magnetic cards. Customers at Poland’s BPS SA bank can now withdraw money using only their index fingers in combination with a PIN number for double protection.
The machines use what they are calling a “finger vein” technology, rather than a topographical signature, like the pattern on a customer’s fingerprint which can be manipulated. A Japanese tech company called Hitachi is behind the scanning technology, and it works by recording the tiny veins that run through fingertips which create a unique identifier for each banking customer. The Japanese have been using this technology for some time now, but this is the first time it’s been used in a Western country, and according to the news stories, it’s working.
Currently, there is only one working biometric security ATM machine in Warsaw, but the bank plans to expand machines further around the country before the year is over and estimates that they will have more than 350 biometric ATM machines in branches around Poland in the coming years.