Security & Fraud

Wells Fargo To Offer Eye Scan Security Tech

Most of our familiarity with eye scan technology comes from one of two places. Various conferences and trade shows nationwide, where audiences are promised it is just around the corner, and in science fiction movies, where it is a part of day-to-day life.

But it seems eye scanning is actually going to get a real world debut later this year when Wells Fargo rolls out a new feature for corporate clients using the bank’s commercial banking app. Going forward, those clients will be identified using an eye scan or face and voice recognition technology.

It is yet another nail in the coffin for passwords, PINS and other information that a person can easily forget, lose or have stolen.

“Usernames and passwords are basically 15 years old. They’re at the end of their useful life,” said Secil Watson, who oversees online and mobile applications for Wells Fargo commercial banking. “Something needs to take their place.”

The move comes as Apple and Samsung are installing fingerprint scanners on their phones and big consumer banks, like Chase and BoA, are allowing biometric sign-ins.

The best eye scanners in the world use retinal scanning tech to check the pattern of blood vessels on one’s retina. Wells Fargo is not using something quite so extreme and is instead using a smartphone’s front-facing camera to verify the pattern of blood vessels on the whites of one’s eyes. That pattern is apparently as unchanging as a fingerprint.

Use requires a customer to stare into a box on the screen then look to the side so the camera can see the blood vessel pattern there. All in, it takes a few seconds. The system does have limits. Glasses or contacts don’t mess it up, but a glass eye does. Motion can also mess up the camera, as can low-light conditions.

It is, however, still functional for bloodshot eyes.

“We are hangover-compatible,” said Toby Rush, EyeVerify’s (the tech’s creator) chief executive.

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