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Central Bank of Nigeria to replace ATM PIN security with Biometric Identification system

by Milicent Atieno

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is set to replace the PIN-based authentication for ATM system, with fingerprint biometric identification.

That is according to a report by the Nigerian Communications Week, after the recently concluded Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum. During that forum, Dipo Fatokan, from CBN stressed on the need to beef up security with the more secure biometric standards.

Your [ATM] PIN and account details are not supposed to be disclosed to a third person,” said Fatokan. He further pointed out the fact that ATM cardholders who are not able to read or suffer some form of incapacitation must share their banking details with their handler. Sometimes, these handlers go as far as handling for themselves money from such users.

From that angle of argument, it is apparent to see why such a technology is needed; it should have arrived yester-years. Fatokan stresses, “There is no way you can give your finger to a third party,” and therefore makes a case for biometric ID as a logical and secure solution.

However, what about users who don’t have fingers or entire arms? Will they be given the option to revert to using PIN security, or will the new system support other biometric authentication other than fingerprints? All these questions were not addressed at the event, but will probably come up with time.

Additionally, the CBN did not have a timeline when the new biometric system will be rolled out to Nigerian banks. The rollout is expected to be expensive, given the necessary biometric hardware needed comes at a higher cost compared to PIN technology systems.

However, CBN’s resolve in replacing the PIN and chip technology with new biometric authentication system seems unwavering. Though certainly, the rollout of the system will take a longer time, and will require a significant amount of money.

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