Biometric Banking: The Eyes Have It

The Apple iPhone with the fingerprint security sensor was an introduction to biometrics, and the technology (as all technology today) has gone into overdrive since. Regardless of the contentious nature of Samsung’s relationship with Apple, each claiming the other stole this or that, the sneak peek into tech was too good to be ignored. Samsung included a similar fingerprint reader on its phone thereafter. Theft or inevitability? For the purposes of this article, let’s just stick to biometrics.

Biometrics -- Irises

Biometrics — Irises

Biometrics first and foremost is meant to keep your information secure: passwords, banking, information. At an age where information is power and hacking is gaining on cyber security methods, biometrics is the next line of defense against the ‘bad guys’.

According to the Pew Research Center, 57% of people have used their smartphones for banking. Smartphones like Samsung have merged the tech of fingerprinting sensor and added it to some banking apps, Bank of America being one. Along with setting up your fingerprint as a login to your smartphone, those same ridges and swirls can unlock the BofA app. Easy peasy. Maybe.

Since black hats catch up as soon as new groundbreaking technology is launched, tech has to constantly be advancing. The newish en vogue advance is the iris scanner. Sometime in the very near future, Samsung, will have an eye scanner to unlock your smartphones which they think will be safer than your fingerprint. Afterall, a fingerprint could be lifted, but an eyeball? Less likely.

Woori Bank in South Korea has already entered a partnership with Iris ID to develop a program whereas clients will be able to access their deposit boxes with, you guessed it, their irises. If this is successful, the bank’s nearly 1000 branches will use this iris system.

Charles Koo, president and chief executive officer of Iris ID says with great enthusiasm, “We intend to work closely with Woori Bank to capitalize on this agreement and introduce advanced iris recognition technology to South Korea’s Fin-Tech industry. Our plans are to include iris information linked to banking networks and in transactions with other banks.”

But banking and smart-phoning aren’t the only place the biometric space is exploding. Two leading companies in the biometric movement are Grabba and Bi² Technologies. The two companies are leaders in the homeland security, border patrol, and public safety. With their efforts, law enforcement.

In Homeland Security states:

[…] if someone is pulled over by a police officer on the highway, the usual routine is for the officer to take the driver’s license and registration and return to his or her patrol car. With a Grabba device, the police officer is able to scan the driver’s license and immediately receive real-time background data on the officer’s smartphone. The data is encrypted and available over cellular or Wi-Fi connections – letting the police officer know who he or she is dealing with. The same process is utilized by CBP agents who can quickly scan a passport or other immigration document through the Grabba device and acquire immediate information.


This begs the question of whether biometrics is too much a good thing. The same question could actually be asked across the board when we’re talking about technology. Yes, the speed in which we’re developing what would’ve been deemed science fiction a mere 15 years ago is staggeringly breakneck. But, does it really offer more security and to whom?