Hu Yoshida

Putting a Finger on ATM Security

Blog Post created by Hu Yoshida Employee on Oct 17, 2016


When I landed at Warsaw Chopin Airport last week to speak at a Hitachi Information Forum, I noticed several ATMs with Finger Vein readers. This was not surprising since the first Finger Vein ATM was installed in Poland by Poland's BPS SA bank in 2010. This was the first installation of this technology in Europe. In 2014, ITCARD, the second largest shared ATM network in Poland announced a contract with Hitachi Europe for a line of ATMs with finger vein readers at 1730 Wincor Nixdorf and Diebold ATMs throughout Poland. Today 36 banks in Poland use finger vein authentication in their ATMs.

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Finger Vein authentication technology was developed by Hitachi Omron in 2002. As of 2015 there were 80,000 ATMS in Japan utilized by 15 million users where Hitachi has 80% of the market. Hacking of ATMs has become a major concern for banks. In May an ATM heist involving around 1,400 machines in convenience stores in Japan resulted in the loss of 1.4 billion yen ($12.7 million.) by swiped counterfeit South African credit cards which use a magnetic swipe strip.The Chip and Pin ATM card is an attempt to address this but the card and pin number can be stolen. Some countries use fingerprint authentication but finger prints can be replicated and once it is replicated there is no way to change that finger print. Finger vein authentication can replace the chip and pin and cannot be replicated since it requires a finger attached to a living person. Finger vein patterns are created in the womb and remain the same and scales as we grow older and larger. It is lower cost than iris scanning, does not require touch contact, and requires less data to process than chip technology which means faster response time. Eliminating the need for bank cards or PIN numbers, eliminates problems relating to loss, theft or falsification of cards or passwords. As the population ages, managing the safe keeping of cards and remembering or changing passwords can be challenging. Banks can also use finger vein authentication systems to effectively manage transactions at bank counters and depositories.

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There is a growing interest in Hitachi Finger Vein Technology. In 2014,  İşbank S.A., the largest commercial bank in Turkey, installed this technology and this year CTBC Bank, which is one of the leading banks in Taiwan,  is installing this  technology in all their branches. An LG-Hitachi joint venture installed its first finger vein ATMs at BNK Busan Bank in South Korea. There are privacy concerns in some countries regarding the use of biometrics which need to be resolved before we see wider acceptance.


In addition to ATM authentication, this technology can be used for access control to secure facilities. In Santa Clara we use Finger vein as well as card access control for some secure areas in our headquarters building. Hitachi Data Systems does not sell Finger Vein technology, but we access it through Hitachi America or Hitachi Europe. In the future we could integrate it into our IoT solutions. Finger vein authentication is another example of the digital power of one Hitachi.