Halifax trials heartbeat authentication technology

Halifax trials heartbeat authentication technology

Halifax is trialling technology which can authenticate user identities by analysing their unique heartbeat rhythm.

The UK bank is working with Canadian firm Bionym to test the use of the firm's Nymi bracelet for logging on to online banking.

The bracelet has an embedded sensor which recognises the wearer's unique electrocardiogram (ECG) and communicates their identity to terminal devices using Bluetooth.

In September, Bionym raised $14 million on the back of a pre-launch order book for 10,000 of its wearable bracelets.

The firm has already struck a deal with the Royal Bank of Canada and other Canadian banks to test the system in conjunction with contactless card use at the checkout.

So far Halifax is using the technology as a way of allowing users to log into their bank account via their smartphone, without having to key in any PIN or other security details.

Director of innovation and digital development, Marc Lien says: “Exploring innovative technology that will help deliver for our customers and enhance our overall capabilities is a real focus for us at the bank. We are in the very early stages of exploring potential uses for the Nymi Band and wearable technology more widely which will help us further understand how we can serve our customers in the way that best appeals to their needs.”

Comments: (5)

Hoss Atri
Hoss Atri - Elifinty LLC - London Ec1 13 March, 2015, 09:35Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Wondering if Apple Watch heart beat app will make things like this redundant

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 13 March, 2015, 10:52Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Great point Hoss Atri.  You have to wonder what love of adoption is expected for a gimmick lick this and what the thing costs.....  Gettin the sutomer to BYOD for authentication is surely preferable to giveing them yet one more bit of kit to lose

Jayakumar Venkataraman
Jayakumar Venkataraman - Infosys Ltd - London 15 March, 2015, 20:24Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

The trend seems to be to make authentication and access as invisible and as meshed in as possible .. confluence of mdecal realm and financial servcies ... the interconnectedness of everything

Syfin Sreenivasan
Syfin Sreenivasan - Infosys - Mumbai 16 March, 2015, 04:50Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes Is it really required - is the first question that comes to my mind! We got other biometrics authentication well established. Moreover heart beat changes depending on how active or relaxed you are and also your medical condition.
A Finextra member
A Finextra member 16 March, 2015, 08:45Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

The problem with all biomentric solutions is that fingerprints, heartbeats, DNA can be stolen. To avoid this, vendors design solutions where the biometric data is handled and stored locally, in special hardware. Mobile apps using biometrics basically asks the biometric solution (ie Apple Touch ID) if the user is presents and gets a go/no-go from it. As most apps cannot defend themselves against malware the attacker would rather manipulate the app's logic than try to break into the biometric solution.. So from a security perspective biometrics is no magic wand - as long as the app is not hardened.