Halifax bank has come up with a new wearable technology in place of biometrics to protect customer privacy. The wearable will use human heart beat as a unique signature for unlocking banking services.

As opposed to hard to remember security questions and easily forgeable fingerprints, the heartbeat sensor is way more secure.

Marc Lien, director of innovation and digital development at Halifax, told Wired: “The fundamental difference between a heartbeat pattern and fingerprint or iris scanning is that a heartbeat pattern cannot be replicated fraudulently.” He said that-  “The closed security loop at the heart of this technology prevents fraudsters from being able to steal the pattern and use it to access services.”

The technology uses technology called Nymi bands which monitor and store users heart-beat via an electrocardiogram (ECG). An electrocardiogram or ECG is the unique rhythm of a heartbeat and, unlike a text password or fingerprint, it is incredibly difficult to fake.Users must wear the Nymi on one wrist, and touch its top sensor with the opposite hand for it to work. The Nymi pairs with a smartphone via Bluetooth, using a companion app for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Removal of the wristband invalidates biometric authentication.

The concept is one of the latest in banking security. The Royal Bank of Scotland started letting customers access their accounts on an iPhone using Apple’s Touch ID technology. The service was available to anyone with an iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus.

A  self-contained biometric password manager from EyeLock, Myris uses the individual iris signature as the key/ password. Qualcomm’s Sense ID is a supposedly sweat-proof fingerprint scanner that could potentially work even better than Apple’s Touch ID.

The Nymi band was introduced last year by the Toronto based firm as a method to make payments- the first wearable that worked with biometric scanners to verify NFC payments.

The Halifax system is currently at the proof-of-concept stage.

(image credit: Pete)

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