Barclays Introduces a Finger Vein Scanner to Access Your Online Banking

Live fingers required.

Screenshot from Barclays

Barclays is rolling out a new cybersecurity service for its corporate clients next year: finger vein readers. The biometric scanners are designed to scrutinize the unique vein patterns of customers’ fingers so that they can access online bank accounts and make financial transactions without a password or PIN.

In the short and somewhat creepy demo video that Barclays included with its announcement, a woman sits down at her computer and, when prompted on her laptop’s screen, places her finger into the biometric scanner, which looks a lot like the pulse oximeters they clip onto you at the doctor’s. You can watch for yourself below:


Barclays assures clients that the finger scanner will “not hold the user’s vein pattern and there will be no public record of it.” It also notes that “unlike finger prints, vein patterns are extremely difficult to spoof or replicate.” The FT puts it a little more bluntly: “blood vessel patterns are much more difficult to replicate and the scanned finger must be attached to a live human body.”

Then again, if we’re going to go down that grisly path, it’s worth nothing that a dismembered finger won’t unlock the iPhone 5S scanner, either.