Given the illiteracy rate in this country, a lot of people still use their thumb impressions for any kind of transaction that requires identity proof-withdrawing money from a bank, purchasing ration from a fare price shop, taking loans, to name a few. Even the literate community uses their finger prints in some places, like the registrar's office when dealing in property. The process for doing all this is pretty cumbersome, and if there is any kind of fraud, then the impressions have to be sent to a forensics lab for investigation. Using fingerprint scanners can be really useful in all these areas, and one is beginning to see some action here.
In May this year, Andhra Bank rolled out two mobile biometric ATMs that would be stopping at designated locations across Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The bank's customers would be able to operate it using their fingerprints and a PIN number. The CMD of the bank aims to roll it out to the masses. If this happens, then one can imagine the benefits.
For one, it eliminates the need for ATM cards, and given that banks have millions of customers and an equal if not more number of cards, it can save them a lot of money (and mother Earth from at least some plastic in the process). They would never have to issue another ATM card again, since the finger print remains the same throughout a person's life, at least till the person becomes very old (I'm told that fingerprints are known to fade away or even disappear when a person becomes very old). The buck doesn't stop here. Banks could even issue fingerprint scanners to their key customers, who can then use it to for online banking. This might be safer than using digital certificates, and definitely better than using passwords. Banks won't have to force customers to remember long, complex passwords.
Attendance management is another use that fingerprint scanners can be put to. If it's put on individual workstations, you can be rest assured that only the person assigned to it will login. This can be really useful in a BPO outfit, where attendance proxy is quite common. It's even better than RFID tags, because the tags can be exchanged. India being the outsourcing destination of the world, this could help create a good impression in front of customers.
A step beyond attendance mgmt is presence mgmt. Indian KPOs doing work for foreign customers could use it as a key differentiator. If you have assigned work to a CA, then how do you ensure that the CA doesn't hand your work down to an accounts executive? The customer can always check whether the designated person was actually doing his job or not. Your finger could be used in a lot of other areas. A retail outfit could use fingerprint scanners on all their PoS terminals, to ensure that only designated counter sales executives can access them. The use of fingerprint scanning for identity mgmt has arrived, and one is likely to see it thrive in the coming years.