Hong Kong monetary chief says authorities looking into using facial recognition and fingerprint technology in ATMs

The Monetary Authority confirmed on Monday it would look into using face recognition or fingerprint technology in the city’s cash machines to beef up financial security. After an exclusive Post report that local banks may need to boost ATM security in the battle against money laundering, HKMA chairman Norman Chan Tak-lam revealed they would study the facial recognition technology, which is being adopted in Macau.

He said they might also use fingerprint scanners, for an added layer of security.

“We have just found out that Macau has this new technology,” Chan said after a Legislative Council meeting.

“We will be studying this technology to see if it can enhance security, because there are still other possibilities. For example, some people are suggesting whether fingerprint verification can be used.

“Can this replace the use of passwords or will the two be used at the same time? Now that Macau has this new technology, we are happy to study.”

He said the HKMA was “merely studying this new technology to see to what extent it is going to be reliable and useful”, and could still use other methods instead.

The Post reported on Monday that banks in Hong Kong would almost certainly have to replace all of the city’s 3,250 cash machines with new ones equipped with facial recognition technology as part of the battle against money laundering, financial crime and the funding of terrorism.

The costly overhaul, which will mirror Macau’s move earlier this month, is expected to be part of the HKMA’s plan to reshape how the city tackles the growing menace of financial crime.

New figures showed a steep rise in the number of dodgy financial transactions reported to police over the past five years, leaving investigators struggling to cope.

Earlier this month, Macau announced an unprecedented move to use facial recognition technology to scan bank card users at ATMs across the former Portuguese enclave, to tackle money laundering and capital flight.

Hong Kong and Macau regulators intensify efforts against money laundering, financial crime and terrorist funding

The hi-tech screening system and identity checks will first be installed at ATMs in and around casinos before being extended to cover all 1,300 cash machines in Hong Kong’s neighbouring special administrative region.

The Macau government said all holders of mainland-issued China UnionPay bank cards “will be required to scan their mainland identity card and undergo a facial recognition check” to draw cash.

Both Macau and Hong Kong recently stated their “determination” to fight financial crime, in a sign that Beijing wants a more coordinated approach against the problem.

Source: http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-crime/article/2096086/hong-kong-monetary-chief-says-authorities-looking-using