Halifax trials ‘banking by heartbeat’

A man models the heartbeat wristband being trialled at present by Halifax
A man models the heartbeat wristband being trialled at present by Halifax

Mobile banking customers could in future be using their heartbeats to log in to check their finances, as a bank is currently trialling the technology.

Halifax is exploring the possibility of customers being able to wear wristbands containing sensors which would be able to pick up their heartbeat and use this as a way of logging in to their mobile phone banking rather than having to enter a password.

The band would be connected to the consumer’s smartphone via bluetooth and as each person’s heartbeat is unique it would naturally provide a strong protection against fraudsters, Halifax said.

The wristband contains electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors. ECG data is captured when the customer wears the band on one wrist and touches it with a finger on their opposite hand.

The band authenticates the wearer when it is first placed on the wrist, and another set of sensors continuously detect that the authenticated person is still wearing the band. If the band is taken off, the ECG is re-read once it is placed around the wrist again.

The bands are at an early development stage and there are no immediate plans in the pipeline to start giving them to customers, Halifax said.

They are made of plastic, rubber and metal and are very comfortable to wear, according to the bank.

Halifaxs director of innovation and digital development, Marc Lien, said the bank is keen to explore wearable technology, adding that it “will help us further understand how we can serve our customers in the best way that appeals to their needs”.