Magazine article American Banker

Bank in Ukraine Using Hand Scanning Device to Identify Customers

Magazine article American Banker

Bank in Ukraine Using Hand Scanning Device to Identify Customers

Article excerpt

Visitors to the Yalta Hotel in Ukraine don't need cash or credit cards to buy a beer or purchase perfume. All they need is their hands.

Some 50 shops, eateries, and bars connected to the hotel use HandKey, a device that identifies people by the characteristics of their hands and authorizes withdrawals from accounts at Bank Slaviansky. Recognition Systems Inc. of Campbell, Calif., makes HandKey.

Ukrainians - who typically do not have credit cards- are attracted to cashless transactions for fear of crime, said bank and hotel officials.

"Customers are afraid their money can be stolen, so that's why they use it," said Natalia Geraskina, tourism manager at the hotel's service bureau. "HandKey is very comfortable for them."

Bank Slaviansky is one of only a few financial institutions using biometric technology to authorize deductions from accounts.

Several South American and Asian banks use biometrics to identify employees or customers. U.S. financial institutions using the technology mostly are experimenting with it.

HandKey measures features like knuckle size and length of fingers. U.S. banks use Recognition Systems' hand scanners to identify people cashing checks and employees requesting access to vaults.

The scanners also are used in correctional facilities, nuclear power plants, hospitals, airports, and universities.

Bank Slaviansky, a small Zaporozhye-based bank with $150 million of assets, began looking last year into hand scanners as a way to distinguish itself in the new, competitive banking environment in Ukraine. …

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