Heartbeat Could Replace Online Banking Password

Customers at Halifax bank could soon be able to prove their identities online using their heartbeat, rather than a password.

A bracelet called a Nymi Band may be trialled which measures cardiac rhythms unique to each person to keep them logged in online – without having to remember passwords, codes and PIN numbers.

It can authenticate a user when they place their finger on a tiny metal plate fitted to the band, creating a circuit which can be used to check the user’s electrocardiogram  or “cardiac signature” against a stored one.

The user has access to a service for as long as they wear the band. If the band is removed, the electrocardiogram is re-read once the device is placed around the wrist again.

The bracelet has been developed by Canadian company Bionym, which claims the technology is more secure than other biometric proofs of identification.

As well as being useful online, the band could also be used in a similar way to a contactless payment card at tills.

Halifax digital development director Marc Lien said: “We are in the very early stages of exploring potential uses for the Nymi Band and wearable technology more widely which will help us further understand how we can serve our customers in the way that best appeals to their needs.”

Other banks are experimenting with digital payment technologies. Barclays has released a band called bPay, which is worn around the wrist and can be used to make payments of up to £20.

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