Diebold releases branch-based fingerprint scanning system

Diebold releases branch-based fingerprint scanning system

US-based Diebold is releasing a biometric fingerprint scanning system designed to enable banks to authenticate the identity of customers at the branch counter.

Diebold says its identiCenter product, which is powered by technology from US Biometrics, is an integrated system for identity verification and branch traffic management.

The IdentiCenter system links a customer's identity and account information to their unique fingerprint profile. Upon initiating a transaction at the branch counter, customers place their finger on an optical-scan fingerprint reader to verify their identity. Once verified, their account information automatically appears on the teller's screen.

Participating consumers must first enroll by having three fingerprints scanned. The images are then stored in an encrypted, compressed database. To protect the account holder's sensitive information, the original fingerprint images are deleted from the host financial institution's records, leaving algorithmic values that cannot be converted back into fingerprints.

Citing research by Accenture, Diebold says almost half (42%) of consumers visit their branch at least once per week and 86% visit at least once per month.

Brad Stephenson, vice president of Diebold's physical security group, says the new product will provide added protection for financial institutions and consumers against identity theft during branch-based financial transactions. "In a world where PINs, bank cards, social security and account numbers too often fall into the wrong hands, identiCenter can reduce fraudulent transactions, minimise losses from fraud and increase consumer confidence by verifying consumers' identities using their own unique biometric information."

The system can also help streamline branch traffic, says Diebold. Adding an optional kiosk and monitor enables identiCenter enrolled customers to "check in" upon entering the branch by verifying their identity and selecting transaction options in advance of reaching the teller.

Diebold has been struggling against falling financial services revenue in North America and Europe and has incurred restructuring charges to cut costs and improve its profitability. The vendor has implemented a multi-year profit improvement plan that encompasses a $100 million reduction in cost structure by 2008.

Earlier this week the firm said that Michael Hillock, president of international operations, would retire at the end of the year and that James Chen and Joao Abud would lead its international business operations.

In addition to leading the company's Asia Pacific operations, Chen will take responsibility for sales and service operations in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (Emea) region as vice president, Emea/AP Division.

Abud, in addition to his current leadership responsibilities in Brazil, will oversee the sales and service operations throughout all of Latin America as vice president of the company's expanded Latin America Division.

Dieold also said it was consolidating its troubled Emea operations in a new headquarters based in Switzerland, as of December 31 2006. As a result of this, Henrik Funch, division vice president, Emea, has opted not to relocate and is leaving the company.

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