Citibank Testing ATMs That Use Biometrics to Authenticate Users

The barrier between you and your cash may be reduced drastically in the future. Citibank is currently testing a new ATM prototype that would let customers use it with just their eyes (and their mobile phones, of course).

The ATM prototype, named Irving, is designed by self-service technology provider Diebold and will have you doing a double-take at first glance — it looks nothing like an ordinary ATM. There is no PIN pad, card reader, or even screen on this system. Customers are identified once their mobile device comes close to Irving, via Near Field Communication (NFC). Ideally, a user would perform their desired transaction on the mobile app, scan their eye, and have the transaction completed, said Frank Natoli, Executive Vice President of Self-Service Technology at Diebold, in a press release announcing the new tech.

The iris identification software is provided by a company called Eyelock, which teamed with Diebold to develop the Irving machine. It will also use Quick Response (QR) codes, but the press release does not specify whether it can do anything beyond withdrawals. Citibank is currently testing the Irving at its innovation lab in New York, but the banking giant has yet to announce plans to roll out the ATM devices.

The Irving would improve two key factors for the banking industry: security and time. We’ve all had to wait on lines while slowpokes input their PINs, mull transactions, and debate getting receipts. It’s a maddeningly slow process — which is why Irving can spit out greenbacks in under ten seconds, according to Citibank.

The Irving would also eliminate the need to feed your debit card into a machine, potentially preventing millions of dollars lost due to identity theft. Thieves stole debit card data from ATMs at an unprecedented rate in 2015. The process is known as “skimming” and involves thieves inserting a device into the card reader to capture the debit card data. Then a pinhole camera installed by the thieves above the card reader captures the PIN information, all of which the thieves download later and use to wreak havoc on people’s bank accounts. The Irving’s iris identification and mobile app transaction system would render that skimming model useless.

Author: Jason Williams

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