No Card Needed! JCB Introduces a Palm Vein Authentication Payment System

Biometrics Authentication Uses Physiological Markers

Biometrics is an exciting new authentication technology that encompasses methodologies such as fingerprinting, facial recognition, palm vein authentication and iris authentication. Biometrics employs biological characteristics and markers that are unique to the individual, as well as behavioral characteristics such as signatures.

Palm vein authentication offers significant advantages over other forms of authentication, physiological information impossible to forge, contactless implementation, and the ability to register virtually any person. Fujitsu’s palm vein authentication system, launched in 2004, has proved extremely popular, with global sales currently at 470,000 units, used by over 63 million people in 60 countries.

Major credit card provider JCB, a pioneer in Japan’s domestic credit card sector, has adopted the Fujitsu palm vein authentication system as its chosen form of biometric authentication for payments, which will provide a quick and easy alternative to existing authentication technology that offers greater security.

Pay for Your Purchase Simply by Holding Your Hand over the Terminal!

The primary benefit of the JCB palm vein authentication payment system is that it eliminates the need to carry a credit card. The customer’s card details are stored on the authentication server together with the palm vein identifying information. To pay for a purchase, the customer simply holds their hand above a sensor terminal, and once the correct match is found, the card details are retrieved from the server to finalize the payment. No card or smart device eliminating the risk of loss or theft.

Palm vein identifying information collected by JCB is stored at Fujitsu data centers in Japan, which are protected by state-of-the-art security systems operating on failsafe equipment and subject to operational monitoring 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Data is exchanged between JCB merchants and data centers within a highly secure closed network environment.

System Overview

Natural Hand Movement

Unlike fingerprints, the identifying information contained in palm vein patterns is not affected by water and can be recognized on wet hands. This makes payment by palm vein authentication possible at the seaside or hot springs, for instance. While fingerprint recognition is affected by rough or dry skin and facial recognition cannot identify a person wearing a mask, palm vein authentication is not comprised by external factors. This is because palm vein patterns constitute internal biometric information, so external factors have negligible influence. Also, passing a hand over a terminal is an inherently natural motion that does not require physical contact with the terminal, so the technology is more likely to be accepted by consumers.

Fujitsu will continue to refine the technology with ongoing trials in other countries and regions. A key goal is to embed palm vein authentication functions into smart devices and other small systems.