Japan's Ogaki Kyoritsu bank is preparing to roll out biometric ATMs that will allow users to access their accounts by scanning their hand, and entering their birthdate and PIN number. They will be the first machines that do not require cards.
Customers at select locations of the bank will register their biometric data with their branch where it will be stored in conjunction with their numerical data. These will then authenticate a person's account.
There are ATMs that make use of some level of biometrics — whether it is a scanning the unique patterns of a finger, palm or iris. The difference is these scans are used in conjunction with cards — you can't use one without the other.
The addition of this combination of scans and cards were originally used to combat card skimming — where all the data is copied off a user's card. The scan was an extra safety measure.
The move to the completely card-less system being trialed in Japan has a surprising origin. A large number of customers lost their cards and other forms of ID after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake — this new system would allow clients access to their accounts in emergency situations.
It is just one of the many innovations the Japanese have created to ride out a catastrophe.
Of course, it goes without saying that not having another card to fiddle around with would also be pretty convenient.