Japanese bank launches cardless ATMs

Dave Bleasdale on flickr

A Japanese bank is to launch ATMs that use palm-scanning biometric technology in place of bank cards to identify customers.

In what it claims to be a worldwide first, Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank is set to introduce the cardless ATMs in September to enable consumers to access their accounts in times of disaster.

Biometric sensors at cash machines is widespread in Japan, but has previously been used in conjunction with cards or bank books.

Now from September, Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank customers will be able to register to use the system by linking their biometric palm details at a machine with their PINs and birth-dates.
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By placing their hand on a reader and entering key details, the technology will allow customers to carry out regular banking tasks without a card, such as withdrawing money, checking balances and making deposits.

The system is set to be installed across ten of the bank's branches in the city of Nagoya, while a drive-through cash point is also set to be launched by the firm.

Banking of the future
Ogaki Kyoritsu said it is unveiling the technology, in part, as a response to the earthquake and tsunami that crippled the country's northeast coast last year. Many people fled their homes empty handed and lost everything, including their ATM cards. This new system would allow people who lose their cards to still be able to access their money.

The biometric technology was created by Fujitsu and is reportedly able to quickly differentiate between hundreds of thousands of people.

We have already seen the introduction of contactless card payment in the UK, as well as cardless banking via mobile phone. The initiative in Japan goes a step further by completely removing the need for any additional cards or devices.

Commuters in Japan also learned recently that they will be able to use their mobiles while travelling on the Tokyo subway. A new network operated by the country's top three mobile carriers is being established in the city's underground system.
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