back to article Japanese bank palms off customers with biometric ATMs

Japan-based Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank is claiming to be the first in the world set to offer its customers the option of using ATM services without the need for a cash card or passbook, thanks to palm-scanning biometric technology from Fujitsu. The technology works by mapping and identifying the unique pattern of veins in the user’s …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So this bank's ATMs...

    ... come with a guarantee of proof against quakes and tsunamis too?

    If not, then that "this secures against loss of passbook" argument doesn't hold (back) much water, now does it?

    But I guess it's a nice incentive to explore faking vein patterns. Or maybe it's easier to just try to somehow obtain or guess the birthdates and PINs of the customers, and with that "authenticating" a handy substitute limb. Purely for academic purposes, of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Did not read the article.

      >"One of the bank’s mobile units operates as a “rescue” bank for just such occasions."

      Mobile, as in movable, as in whenever an area gets struck, you can move in spares from unaffected areas and have them up and running quickly. So yes, the "this secures against loss of passbook" argument does hold water.

  2. Christian Berger Silver badge


    So all I need is a handprint of someone to get money? How convenient!

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Looks like you need their whole hand

      Now every tourist will need a T-shirt that says "My severed hand cannot access my bank account" in the local language. Lets hope theives can read, and that they are prepared to trust that tourists are honest about this.

      I do not care if the machine looks for a pulse. How are theives to know that if they do not try it out themselves?

      1. Semaj

        Re: Looks like you need their whole hand

        It's Japan. You could walk around with 100,000 yen sticking loosely out of your back pocket and no one would steal it.

        (Sad because I wish we had such a low level of crime, petty or otherwise)

        The populace would love the t-shirts though, even if they didn't understand them. They'd probably copy the idea but get the English slightly wrong with amusing consequences.

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Looks like you need their whole hand

        Nor meaning to piss on your salad, but the thought occurs ripping off your hand is much harder work than mugging you for your card+pin, and.

        Anyway it's about time we got proper sci-fi in real life more :)

      3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

        Re: Looks like you need their whole hand

        Ever been to Japan?

        It is just about the safest country on this planet. Tourists getting mugged in Japan is unheard of. In Tokyo half the bikes I saw parked there were unlocked (no kidding). If this scheme is going to work anywhere, it is in Japan.

        Incidentally, it is possible to use Doppler laser scanners to check blood is flowing in veins of the hand, to check it is a real hand (I do not know if these scanners support this).

        1. npupp 1

          Re: Looks like you need their whole hand

          I concur, safer than Switzerland!

          Amusing anecdote: I left a laptop on an airport shuttle bus while visiting Osaka, realised the next day. Hotel concierge called the bus company, the laptop was returned that day (even though was literally brand-new top of the line, and it came with an origami flower taped to it! :D )

          1. James Micallef Silver badge

            Safer than Switzerland

            These days, most places are safer than Switzerland, at least the Geneva part. Just a random remembering from past few months newspapers - stabbings, shootings, pensioners targeted for robberies and even just yesterday a pensioner found in his own flat with his throat cut. Not to mention drunken overspeeding (last December there were 3 pedestrians killed on zebra crossings in the same week). Normally that would be 'normal' for the last few months in any big city, but this is really a small town (pop 400k) that (in theory) is mostly inhabited by fairly rich upper-middle class types.

  3. Gomez Adams

    This is surely breaking the standard

    Something you have + Something you know

    tenet of secure athentification? Unless you also still have to enter a PIN or somesuch as well?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, of course it should still require PIN entry.

      See the above thread about cutting people's hands off.

      Also, it should require the hand still to have bloodflow. (Harder to fool than just checking for warmth.)

      And why don't even existing card systems allow people to set a duress code?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So... thousands of people using the ATM daily, placing your whole hand on the pad to scan it...

    Ewwwwwwww Germs anyone?

    1. Ru
      Thumb Up

      Not at all

      The Japanese would be the last people on earth to accept a system that exposed them to that sort of unpleasantness.

      The hand-vein scanner is optical and contact free; it is effectively just shining a light through your hand and capturing an image of the result. You just wave your hand in an imaging box and wait for it to identify you. It could conceivably work without using any data from the fingers either, making it not only contact free but robust to a fair bit of external damage.

      I'll bet that severed hands whether the blood has clotted or drained out would simply not work because they wouldn't transmit light correctly. Freshly severed and tourniqued hands might, but at that point it is easier to frogmarch someone to a cashpoint and demand they give you money or you'll chop their hand off.

  5. Shady

    Could be worse

    Might have used a Kinect to identify you. "Dance like a bell-end to confirm your identity. Wave arms frantically if you want £10. Do a jig for £20"

    1. auburnman

      Re: Could be worse

      Would you like to take out house insurance with your bank today? Do a handstand to decline.

  6. auburnman

    I do love how

    many commentards assume there's a hidden army of psychopaths just waiting for the right conditions to begin a spree of mutilation muggings, as if relieving someone of their hand and nonchalantly strolling up to a cashpoint with the aforementioned severed hand would be seen by criminals as the easiest option. Yes, it's technically possible someone could be targeted by an end-of-the-bell-curve nutter, but I very much doubt monetary gain would be the objective of our hypothetical crazy limb hacker.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: I do love how

      As others have stated, Japan has such a tradition of high moral character that it is one of the few places where you can do such a trial and not be subject to too many outside factors. A venal image of the hand sounds like a pretty robust idea--veins are not subject to significant alteration over time once you reach adulthood, are hard to mar (more likely to damage the fingers first) and difficult to lose. It's also last I checked a very intricate three-dimensional pattern that includes various flow characteristics, so it's a lot harder to fake. It sounds like something worth trying out in limited circumstances (I say limit it to direct bank contact--no third-parties and no point-of-sales). Sure, you can be forced at gunpoint, but that's no better and no worse than cards now.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      I do love how

      ... you don't appreciate how many commentards love Sci-Fi movies where an eye-ball is plucked out and proffered on a stick to a retina scanner.


      KRYTEN: I believe this is an appropriate juncture for you to give me

      five, sir.

      LISTER: Give you five? I can do better than that! (Holding up the

      severed hand) I can give you fifteen!

  7. dave 76

    Palm scanners on Japan ATM's have been around for a while

    I've used ATM's in Tokyo that allow palm scan as access at least 3-4 years ago. I was just doing a transfer so my palm wasn't registered with the card so I couldn't actually test it but my wife assured me it works.

    At least on the models I saw you didn't actually put your hand directly on a scan pad - it had two rests which kept your hand about 2 cm above the pad. And there was a box of tissues right next to the atm for you to be as clean as you like.

    You are very unlikely to be mugged at an ATM in Japan!

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