Spy movies and high-tech science fiction tales have introduced us all to the “retinal scan” – a form of identification that requires a match to the pattern of a person’s retina blood vessels. This is somewhat similar to an “iris scan,” also known as iris recognition, which uses pattern-recognition to identify the random patterns of unique irises. In either case, most people wandering the streets do not use retinal or iris scanners on a day-to-day basis. If we need to identify ourselves, we use a driver’s license, or passport, or student ID card. But that could be changing in regards to banking and ATMs.
Last week, Citigroup, partnered with Diebold (a company that designs ATMs), introduced the “Irving model” ATM for testing in New York. The new machine was simultaneously showcased at a financial services trade show in Las Vegas. This model ATM will identify users by scanning their eyes with iris recognition before dispensing cash to the user. The process is supposed to take about 10 seconds and will reduce the need for screens, card readers, and touch pads; it will also take up less space and time.
If the testing in New York proves successful, the day-to-day use of biotechnology could be less than a decade away. Richard Harris, the vice president of new technology, incubation, and design for Diebold, says that “I think in five years or so, the idea of carrying a card, or frankly, even carrying a mobile device will be obsolete. You’ll just have to present yourself via eye scan or a fingerprint scan, and that will be it. You’ll be able to access that data without the phone or without the card.”
Harris goes on to emphasize that the design for the machine is constantly being tweaked so that the best cameras and scanners are in use for the recognition technology.
Other banks including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and the Bank of America are also testing cardless ATM technologies.
Caitlyn Trautwein is Senior Associate Editor at Whitman Publishing.