Retinal scans for banking?


THE days of having to carry a piece of plastic and remembering a PIN number to access your money could become a thing of the past.

ANZ this week unveiled research which showed a majority of people would be comfortable using retina or fingerprint scanning technology at ATMs instead of PIN numbers.

Carried out by Newspoll for ANZ, the research also revealed Australians were increasingly embracing digital banking, but still wanted face-to-face interaction for "big ticket" items like applying for a loan.

The release of the survey coincided with ANZ unveiling plans to invest $1.5 billion over the next five years in new technologies, including the rollout of 800 "next generation" automatic teller machines and installing video-conferencing in regional branches.

Video-conferencing is already available in 40 regional branches - mostly in Queensland - with that number to reach 43 by the end of the year as the service is extended to Murwillumbah and Roma and one in South Australia.

ANZ said video-conferencing gave customers greater access to specialist advice for home loans and financial planning.

A spokesman told APN Newsdesk video-conferencing would not pose a threat to jobs in regional branches.

"It's about providing a service that wasn't otherwise provided," the spokesman said.

"We are using technology to improve service in regional areas."

The new ATMs would allow customers to deposit coins, notes and cheques that would immediately be credited to their accounts.

While the Newspoll study found people would be comfortable with some form of biometric identification, futurist Ross Dawson went one step further.

He suggested this type of technology could replace cash entirely.

"Cash and coins could be on the way out and it's realistic to imagine a world in which we carry no notes or coins, or even credit or debit cards," Mr Dawson said.

"Before long we may use our fingerprints or even retina scans to make payments.

"Australians have shown they are comfortable with biometric identification, because it combines convenience with security."

More than a third of people surveyed said they would prefer to live in a cashless society.

The ANZ spokesman said a move to biometric identification was at least five to 10 years away.

He said ANZ went into the research thinking most people would not be interested in biometric technology and was "quite surprised" when the results came back.

ANZ plans to carry out further research to assess risk implications associated with such a move and to find a biometric identification system people were most comfortable with.


  • 88% of people aged 18-34 prefer to use digital technology over a bank branch for day-to-day transactions, but their mums and dads weren't far behind at 75%.
  • 38% would prefer to live in a world where they didn't need to carry cash.
  • 40% even accepted the idea of one day outsourcing their finances to a digital personal assistant - an intelligent computer program which makes financial decisions and moves money between accounts on your behalf.
  • 67% would be comfortable using a machine that scans your eye to verify identification in place of a pin.
  • 79% would be comfortable using fingerprint technology in place of a pin.

*Source: Newspoll survey of 1211 Australians aged 18 and over across all states and territories.

Topics:  anz newspoll online banking technology

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