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Westpac NZ says customers should be able to access mobile banking via finger print scanning 'very soon'

Westpac NZ says customers should be able to access mobile banking via finger print scanning 'very soon'

Westpac says it has completed "proof of concept" testing to allow customers to access mobile banking via finger print scanning.

The bank claims this is a world first and hopes to have the ability to do this available to customers "very soon."

The testing has been done on the Samsung Galaxy S5 phone.

Westpac has a stated aim of being New Zealand's best digital bank this year, and the world’s best next year. See Simon Pomeroy, Westpac's chief digital officer, talking about Westpac's digital strategy here.

Meanwhile, Westpac has applied to the Intellectual Property Office to use the PayTag name along with ASB. Yesterday ASB announced plans to trial a mobile wallet in partnership with Visa called ASB PayTag. Westpac works with MasterCard.

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5 Comments

That's very interesting tech.

 

Presumably it'll be part of a two-step process like some banks have at the moment, e.g. Kiwibank, in which you enter username and password, and then fill in the missing letters to a keyword.

 

Fingerprints will definitely add a strong layer of security, which is great, but I wonder how long before we start seeing the first 'fingerprint mining' scams, collecting fingerprints off handled objects, for example, while working with social engineering to extract passwords.

 

Still, at least it should discourage the small-time scammers, because it would be a lot more work to create a synthetic fingerprint than to copy a card and extract the PIN (as was done during the fake EFTPoS terminal scam of a couple of years ago). ...Unless someone makes a 3d printer that can create synthetic fingerprints!

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Ah, I see fingerprint 3D printing's already being worked on:

 

http://www.cse.msu.edu/rgroups/biometrics/Publications/Fingerprint/Aror…

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It is being drawn from the lastest upmarket cellphones (iPhones, as well as the top end ones in the Samsung line) which include a scanner. Strictly speaking it is a scan anything you like rather than a pure fingerprint scanner, so you could unlock the device with your nose if you set it up that way.

At the moment, most of the time this kind of tech is being used as a shortcut to proving your identity- if you match the biometrics you don't have to provide as much other information.

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So it's effectively just looking at 2D pixel patterns, then? Like a QR code reader app does? I guess that's where the challenge is for the software, because QR codes have high contrast (black-white), whereas a fingerprint is relatively low-contrast.

 

One point I read in another comment thread is that if you reduced other login security steps too much, then it seems a bit risky if you lose a mobile with your 'password' all over it -- your fingerprints!

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Becuase most people don't security lock (fingerprint/ password protect) their smartphones, it does mean that if lost/ stolen you email accounts are compromised with a string of ("it's me I have forgotten my password" messages from services they can see you use going to your compromised email account). That your fingerprints are on the nice shiny glass and metal device is a minor weakness in comparison.

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