RealTime IT News

Bank of America Offers Fingerprint Access to Online Banking

Bank of America Wednesday rolled out a new pilot program that uses fingerprint recognition to give individuals access to their online banking services.

Before using the system, the bank stores a customer's online banking login, passcode and fingerprint on the chip attached to a multi-application smart card. The customer then follows a customary login process to access banking information over the Internet.

The biometric security authentication is completed when the customer places a finger on a small scanning device attached to a personal computer. The software matches the fingerprint image from the scanner against the image already stored on the smart card's chip.

Bette Wasserman, vice president and manager of smart card product development for Bank of America, said the company believes biometric technology will play an increasing role in security and authentication for financial services.

"Biometric technology -- coupled with smart cards -- has the potential to take security, convenience and versatility to another level for our customers," she said.

Bank of America first started testing smart cards more than four years ago and has a special group that explores new ways to utilize the technology. Out of that group has come the first multi-application smart card program utilizing Visa Cash and non-finance features and the first PC program for Visa Cash stored-value chip cards. The group has also deployed a variety of smart-card programs for companies and public facilities across the country.