Finger veins, the tiny blood vessels inside your finger, are laid out in a pattern which is unique to every individual. Fingerprints have for many years been used for identification based on the fingers ridge patterns that are also unique to every individual.
However, there is a key difference between the two technologies. Fingerprints are composed of a ridge pattern on the surface of the finger. Finger veins, on the other hand, are below the skin and the finger vein pattern is obtained by projecting light through the finger. As the infrared rays are absorbed by the haemoglobin in the blood they appear as dark lines, creating a unique map of the finger veins.
High security - Because finger veins are inside the body and invisible from the outside, finger vein patterns are extremely hard to steal or replicate, unlike fingerprints that leave a latent print behind, and do not change with age making it an ideal biometric feature for secure authentication.
Compared with other biometrics, finger vein offers significant advantages such as high accuracy rates, speed, and high resistance to criminal tampering over alternative biometric authentication methods.
However, it remains to be seen if finger vein based scanners will gain more popularity and become the new-norm for biometric authentication in the way we take services like Apple Pay, Android Pay or PayPal for granted linking our banking details to mobile devices. Ultimately, it will be determined by the appropriate application of the technology and where it delivers increased customer convenience through providing additional fast authentication.
A supermarket in London is trialling a biometric payment system that uses the unique vein pattern in fingertips to pay for goods.