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Embedded biometrics in Indian banking smartcard.

Gemalto : 25 June, 2007  (Application Story)
Gemalto supplies Indian financial network with smartcards equipped with embedded biometrics and transaction records to facilitate easier access to funds.
Gemalto has announced the successful introduction of smartcard technology with biometric authentication for Financial Information Network & Operations (FINO) in India. The Gemalto solution conveniently and securely stores transaction records inside the smart card to enable microbanking and simplifies access to financial services for the under-banked population in rural India.

FINO provides end-to-end core banking technology solutions including smart cards to microfinance partners, banks and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) involved in serving low-income households in the urban and rural regions in India as business correspondents of large institutions. Currently, an estimated 500 million people in these areas are either not served or are underserved by the finance sector.

Each FINO card developed by Gemalto can hold up to 15 different types of secure applications that facilitate financial services such as deposit remittances, savings, loans, insurance and e-purses.

In addition, the card acts as an electronic statement to log all transactions with the ability to store the last 150 transactions (up to 10 transactions per service). Transactions are validated using biometric authentication, which provides one of the highest degree of digital security available today. End-user transaction is approved after fingerprint information is read using low-cost readers and then verified by the card microcomputer at business correspondents facilities and at selected retail outlets and partner premises.

"One of the biggest challenges in the microbanking industry is the huge amount of paperwork and human effort traditionally involved in supporting micro-transactions and credit-scoring potential customers. High costs coupled with low returns did not make microfinance viable beyond a certain threshold, thus hampering growth," said Manish Khera, chief executive officer of FINO. "This one-card-does-all solution resolves these barriers to growth by providing end-users with an easy-to-use and highly secure mode to conduct financial transactions, and for us to supervise transactions electronically."

"Digital security is usually associated with developed markets," added Dr Martin McCourt, President, South Asia, Gemalto. "This FINO deployment is a great example of how smart card technology can be used to bring banking services to the world's unbanked, helping them to help themselves. We are proud at Gemalto to be part of this initiative that will effectively contribute towards developing poorer urban and rural areas in India."
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