Growing card fraud, combined with the risk to their reputation of failing to act, is forcing banks and financial institutions to introduce the latest smart cards incorporating biometrics. A recent nationwide card fraud in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) emphasized the vulnerability of current systems. It involved a co-ordinated attack by ‘identity thieves’, forcing banks to slash withdrawal limits at automated teller machines (ATMs) in an attempt to limit the financial damage.
The UAE Central Bank said last week it had identified $411,000 illegally siphoned funds from ATM transactions in one day. Banks have promised compensation for victims of the fraud. The UAE ‘identity thieves’ succeeded in breaking the PIN codes of individual customers, enabling them to access their accounts and withdraw large sums of money, in some cases totally emptying ATMs of cash.
But it is not just financial damage. Such incidents cause substantial damage to a financial institution’s reputation and its relationship to customers. To provide customer security and reassurance, a number of ‘biometric-enabled’ ATMs have been installed by banks in the US and Europe, incorporating fingerprint or iris recognition.
“If Gulf banks are serious about reducing their risk, both financial and to their reputations, they must consider introducing biometric technology,” said director of the Middle East Biometrics Forum, Chris Mullinger, which opens in Dubai later this month.
“The combination of smart cards with biometric technology is the logical progression from outdated and unreliable security systems of the past,” added Chris Blake, co-founder and director of research for leading smart card and biometrics company Banque-Tec of Australia.
Until now the major market internationally for biometric technology has been in the government sector, which is predicted to reach over four billion dollars in the US alone by the year 2007.
But with smart cards incorporating biometric elements seen as virtually eliminating the possibility of data or identify theft, high-tech companies are targeting banks, financial institutions and other areas such as healthcare, for biometric technology systems.
The International Biometrics Group and Banque-Tec are among ten international companies and consultancies demonstrating how biometric technology can be put to work in both the private and public sector at the Middle East Biometric Forum from June 22-24, the only event in the region dedicated to biometrics.
Organized by the Institute for International Research, the forum investigates the growing market for biometric technology in the region as well as key, new applications in banking, e-commerce, healthcare, digital rights management, point of sale, as well as law enforcement, border and building security. — (menareport.com)
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