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Tapping into Vein Biometrics: Reliable and Secure Authentication for the Emerging World

Biometric Post
Feb 28, 2023
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Biometric Post
Tapping into Vein Biometrics: Reliable and Secure Authentication for the Emerging World

Necessity and convenience leave us with little choice but to fuse our lives with the internet. It’s alarming however how cyberspace is morphing into an inhospitable place where bad actors lie in wait at every corner to victimize us. Our dependence on the internet has indeed left our priceless personal information increasingly vulnerable to exploits.  

Passwords may still largely be able to protect us for now, but the growing sophistication of cybercriminals means the days of keying in characters for authentication are numbered. This is a clear signal for us to find more secure and reliable methods of establishing and proving our identity.  

The need for a more secure identity verification system has led to the emergence of biometric technology. While fingerprint biometrics have long been the gold standard, the emergence of newer modalities such as vein biometrics augur well for our endless search for an even more reliable and secure authentication method.  

Biometrics Changed Identity and Authentication

Biometric technology uses unique physiological characteristics such as the face, iris, fingerprints, or vein patterns, to verify a person's identity. It has transformed the way we identify and authenticate ourselves by eliminating the need for passwords, which can be easily forgotten or compromised.  

The accuracy of biometric technology is unmatched, making it the logical solution for high-security environments such as banking and government agencies. Over the years, the technology has also largely become cost-effective and easy to implement.  

Vein Biometrics on the Rise

While fingerprint biometrics has been the go-to biometric identifier for years, other modalities are always emerging, such as palm vein biometrics.  

Palm vein patterns are highly unique and determined by factors such as genetics and our circulatory system. It is internal, and hence not affected by external factors, making them a more reliable authentication method.  It works by using infrared light to scan the unique vein patterns of your palm, capturing over 5 million data points, which are then converted into a unique encrypted code that becomes your biometric ID.  

Advantages of Vein Biometrics

As we delve deeper into the realm of vein biometrics, the numerous advantages become apparent, some of which include:


With the identifier concealed under the skin, it is very difficult for bad actors to make off with a pattern and spoof it. Additionally, since vein biometrics capture actual blood flow, it is a liveness test on its own. Even if a palm vein pattern falls into the wrong hands, it would not be able to get past authentication without live blood pumping through the veins, making the technology impregnable to spoofing.


Vein patterns can only be captured by presenting palms for a close-up shot using a high-definition camera and a UV light, which makes the process a private, consented act. When technology is seen as more trustworthy, adoption is not only easier but also makes it less vulnerable to regulatory and legal issues.


The palm has a much larger surface area than the finger or iris, enabling more data points to be captured. As a result, palm vein biometrics has the lowest false acceptance rate (FAR) and false rejection rate (FRR) than any other biometric.

Brimming with Potential

In Japan, vein biometrics are already being used in banks as digital ID in lieu of ATM cards. Banks have discovered the technology to be highly accurate and convenient for customers, as they no longer needed to carry around ATM cards or remember PINs. Currently, some 80% of Japanese banks use some form of biometric authentication, with vein recognition being the most common.

There is a cultural dimension to this, as the success of this modality in Japan is largely due to the country's low crime rate and a culture that places a premium on convenience and efficiency. Additionally, the aging population in Japan often struggles with remembering PINs, making vein biometrics a practical solution.  

Use Cases  

Vein biometric systems are also now being implemented for access control and to authenticate employees, contractors, and visitors, ensuring that only authorized individuals gain access to restricted areas.  

In retail, it is now being used as a means of payment authentication, reducing dependence on cash and physical credit cards. The technology can also be found in healthcare, where it’s helping identify patients before administering medication or performing medical procedures.    

Limitations and Drawbacks  

One major barrier to entry for vein biometrics is the cost of implementation, as scanners are still expensive to install and maintain. There are also concerns about the security of biometric data and its potential to be stolen or used for nefarious purposes.  

The lack of standardization in the industry also makes interoperability tricky. Unlike fingerprints which have been used for decades, the newer vein biometric technology has yet to establish standards. Early adopters are finding it a challenge to implement finger vein biometric systems across multiple platforms or vendors.  

The Future of Vein Pattern Biometrics  

While there are birthing pains, vein biometrics is expected to become more widely adopted as technology advances, costs decrease, and standards are established. As we move toward a more secure digital future, vein biometric technology is expected to play a crucial role.  The advantages of vein biometrics as an authentication method are many, and the technology is already being used in various industries. As technology matures, it becomes more widely adopted.


What is Biometrics? Definition, Data Types, Trends (2024)

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What is Biometrics? Definition, Data Types, Trends (2024)

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