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Barclays change identification rules: no need for ‘What you know’ to identify user

At EuroFinance last month, Barclays announced the launch of their iPortal, an online hub allowing businesses to connect to all their banking services through a single gateway accessed by a unique secure login. This new access system uses a desk top Dalek/a Stig’s helmet (also known as the Barclays Biometric Reader), see photo below.

Barclays Biometric Reader

 Source & Copyright©2015 - Barclays

The Barclays iPortal service contains important new approaches to digital identification and portal design structure.

Removing the third step in identification

In digital identification the view for many years has been that three factor identification was essential. It was regarded as ‘The Ultimate Combination’, as shown in the Smart Card Alliance’s classic chart below.

Three factor digital identification

Source & Copyright©2008 - Smart Card Alliance 

Barclays iPortal new identification system uses Hitachi’s Finger Vein Authentication Technology (VeinID) which uses infrared light to scan the blood flow in a user’s finger. (The data is stored in a chip/sim within the device rather than stored centrally to allay any fears of their personal biometric data been stolen.) This is more secure than a fingerprint as it cannot be duplicated unlike fingerprints. (Gruesome detail: dead fingers have a very different pattern as the veins collapse so cutting fingers off doesn’t work.) Barclays claim that the solution eliminates the need to remember PIN and passwords AND, critically for the corporate treasury department security manager, also removes any PIN/password sharing. 

Barclays claim to be developing a model that provides better risk mitigation with multi-layered security rather than just focusing on the front door security. Solutions range from session monitoring, preventing phishing and PC takeover, to payments profiling which identify fraudulent transactions. 

Barclays iPortal

Unlike some bank portals which are just a front end to connect other separate systems in the bank, the Barclays iPortal is a brand-new product, built from the ground up rather than retooling or overlaying existing ones. It provides users with consolidated ‘to do’ lists, and real time alerts and notifications where actions are required. The iPortal provides decision makers with an overview of group balances, across different business divisions and activities in multiple countries.

Designed to reduce time spent on administration, users are able to send and receive secure messages with Barclays relationship and support teams via iPortal to streamline communication. It will also act as a market intelligence tool, providing users with the latest market research and insights specific to their business and industry.

iPortal can be accessed through all major web browsers, and the iPortal App will be available on tablet and mobile devices for financial controllers and company executives. Using Agile delivery methodology for the first time in Barclays Corporate, Barclays is able to act on customer feedback to innovate continuously and seamlessly upgrade their iPortal.


Barclays iPortal is available to corporate customers immediately, and the first orders for the Biometric Reader will be shipped from November 2015.

CTMfile take: The important new dimension in the Barclays iPortal is the identification system which removes the need for PIN/password as well as eliminating PIN/password sharing which rampant in Shared Service Centres. Should every service provider have one?

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