2022 – Biometrics and Your Safe Deposit Box

Biometrics is the measurement and statistical analysis of a person’s unique physical and behavioural characteristics. Quite simply, by combining biometrics and your safe deposit box you have greater protection against identity theft; and this should be a serious consideration for you if you are looking for the safest of places to store your valuable assets, documents, and properties. Though, when considering secure storage facilities, what level of biometric security works best?

Biometric identification measures come in varying forms and have undergone many developments and advancements over the years. However, not all providers of safe deposit boxes and private vaults employ the use of biometrics and most protocols used by institutions, including banks, are outdated and high risk.


Issues with Access Protocols in Banks

As an example, typically a bank requires a simple protocol for accessing their safety deposit boxes. It often begins with the client’s personal key, followed by using the bank’s master key, then by the client’s signature, and ends with entering a pin code or password. However, banks often don’t permit entry to the back of house where your safe deposit box is stored. Instead, a staff member on duty retrieves your requested item from your security box – a rather unnerving idea considering a different stranger could be handling your possessions during any given visit.

While the above may seem to be more or less adequate, times have changed and criminals have grown smarter and more tech savvy making this system obsolete, insecure and prone to human error. Bank attendants may mistakenly give access to the wrong person due to identity theft and altered signatures. This possible lapse in security could result in unauthorised access to safe deposit boxes and in illegal, fraudulent activity.

A State-of-the-Art Solution

Biometric systems have been utilised by various institutions worldwide because they focus on identifying individuals by their inherent and unique characteristics based on their physical features.

Therefore, biometric technology have traditionally offered a higher level of protection against fraud since the modalities used by these systems are non-transferrable, safe from guesses, offer non-repudiation benefits since no two individuals have the same patterns on their body, and are only limited by the quality and standard of the system design.

The above means that by using biometric technology, a business like a secure storage facility is able to offer you a better level of customer service and a higher standard of security.

The most common types of biometric systems are palm vein recognition, fingerprint recognition, iris recognition, voice authentication. On the top end of all the technologies is 3D facial recognition technology. While biometric technology has become increasingly popular, it is still quite new in terms of being implemented in banking environments.

Who uses Biometrics?

However, there are some notable examples of biometric technology being used in banking. For instance, the United Kingdom’s Barclays bank uses palm vein scanning to identify customers, while the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) uses fingerprints to verify identities at airports. In fact, the RCMP also use biometrics to confirm the identity of visitors to its national headquarters building.

In addition, the National Crime Agency (NCA), which is part of the UK government, has recently begun to implement biometric technology as part of its plans to combat financial crime.

However, when it comes to implementing biometric technology for safe deposit boxes, it is important to note that the NCA does not currently use biometrics for its own safe deposit boxes. Rather, it is the private sector that will drive the adoption of biometrics for safe deposit boxes. As an example, typically a banker requires a simple protocol for opening their safe deposit boxes. It often starts with the client’s personal key, followed by the use of the bank’s master key, then by client’s signature, and ends with entry into a PIN number or password. However, bankers often do not allow access to the safe deposit boxes if any one of those steps fails.

With biometric technology, each step can be automated. The first step would involve the client presenting his/her hand to a scanner, which would capture the vein pattern of the client’s hand. This information would then be sent to the server where it would be compared with the stored database of clients. If the data matches, the client would be allowed access to the safe deposit box. Therefore, biometric technology have historically offered a higher level of safety than traditional methods.

Furthermore, biometrics can provide additional layers of protections against fraud such as:

• Non-Transferrability – Since biometric characteristics cannot be transferred, they cannot be copied or counterfeited. Thus, when using biometrics, the integrity of the process relies on the uniqueness of the person who presents themselves. Additionally, biometric characteristics cannot be changed over time.

• Safe From Guesses – There are many ways to copy or fake someone’s fingerprints. However, the chances of getting a person’s vein pattern right are much smaller.

• No Repudiation Benefit – When a transaction occurs through a traditional method, either the client or the receiving party could claim that they were never involved. However, with biometric technology, no one else can deny involvement because it was the person himself who presented the hand or finger print.

Why Biometrics is being used everywhere.

Biometric technology is rapidly becoming more widely adopted in other industries besides banking. For instance, there is growing interest for biometric solutions for healthcare applications, including secure patient records and electronic medical record exchange. Furthermore, biometric technology is gaining traction in retailing, transportation, and hospitality sectors.

As these industries continue to adopt this technology, expect more banks to start offering home banking services with biometric security features. It is up to the private sector to take charge of adopting biometrics for safer deposit boxes. As an illustration, typically a banker requires some kind of protocol for accessing their own safe deposit boxes.

Typically, that starts with the customer’s personal key (PKI), followed by the use of bank’s master keys (MKI) and then with the customer’ signature, and ends with entering a PIN number or password (or signing a paper). However, bankers often do not allow access to the safe depost boxes if any one of these steps fails. With biometric technology, each of these steps can be automated. The fist step would involve the client present his/her hand to the scanner, which would capture his/her vein pattern. This information would then send to the server where it will be compared with already stored database of clients. Once the data match, the client will be allowed access to the lockbox.

However, when it come to implementing biometric technology, it is important to note that every individual has unique set of biological parameters. These include, but are not limited to:

• Vein Patterns – A vein pattern is basically a map of blood vessels. Unlike fingerprint patterns, veins have very distinct patterns for different people. Thus, vein patterns are highly accurate and reliable source of identification.

• Fingerprints – While there are many aspects about human body that makes us unique and identifiable, our fingerprints are one of them. By looking into the ridges on the fingers, we can get a good idea about what type of person we are.

There are two types of fingerprints – arches and loops. Arches have parallel lines running along the length of the ridge. Loops have crescent-shaped indentations.

• Facial Features – Our faces are also unique and recognizable. Our facial details vary from person to person. We often use these unique characteristics to identify someone. In recent years, researchers have found ways to extract facial images using only part of the face.

With this understanding, let’s examine how biometric technology can help you open your safe deposit box.

How biometrics work?

In simple terms, biometrics works by capturing your unique physical attributes. One of the most common examples of biometric technology is a fingerprint scanner. When you put your finger on the sensor, it captures the image of your skin beneath the surface of the nail. Using sophisticated software algorithms, the device compares this captured image with those stored in its system. If the two sets of images match, you will be given access to the safe deposit box. Another example of biometric security is iris scanners. Like the fingerprint scanner above, an iris scanner uses a small camera that takes a picture.

In order to understand biometric technology, we need to know that biometrics is based on measuring various biological traits of an individual.

A typical biometric system consists of four parts:

1. Sensor

2. Transducer

3. Database

4. Algorithm

The sensor captures the biometric trait such as face, finger, iris etc. It converts the captured signal into digital format which is then sent to the transducer. Here the raw signals are converted into a mathematical representation called feature vector. Finally, the algorithm compares the inputted feature vector against the corresponding model in the database. Once the data matches, the user will be granted access to the secured area.

Biometrics are used in several fields including identity verification, access control, security authentication, and medical applications like patient monitoring, diabetic management, mental health recovery, and so on. Biometrics are extremely secure because they generate data that cannot be stolen, copied or modified. Furthermore, they are non-invasive, meaning that there is no direct contact between the subject’s body parts and the reader. In fact, biometric systems can provide very high levels of accuracy and reliability.


Biometric technologies are being increasingly integrated into devices used for banking transactions. This means that when you use your bank card to withdraw cash at a nearby ATM, you may actually be generating a secure transaction instead of just making a standard debit purchase. With the growing popularity of online banking transactions, biometric technology has become a major tool for protecting sensitive documents and information while maintaining convenience.

For instance, certain websites now allow users to log in without providing any personal identifying information. Instead, each time a user visits the website, a random number is generated and stored in a cookie to verify his or her identity. However, if the computer should happen to crash or have some other malfunction, the user would not be able to gain access to his or her account.

To make sure the user does not lose all of their money, he or she could simply scan a fingerprint at the log-in screen. As long as the scanned data matches the one stored in the computer’s biometric database, the user will be allowed access. Even though this method is convenient, it also provides extra protection since hackers would not have access to all of the user’s financial information.


Early attempts to authenticate people involved visual identification (i.e., by looking someone in the eye) and voice recognition. Both were unreliable because humans tend to lie, forget information, and change appearance over time.

In 1887, Karl Pearson developed the first statistical technique for measuring relationships between variables. He invented regression analysis, which was later used by scientists to explain why things occur together.

Modern day biometric technologies began with fingerprints. Fingerprints became a reliable form of identification during World War II, but many people were reluctant to register their prints due to privacy concerns. After the war ended, however, people started using fingerprints in other ways. For example, they could check passengers’ fingerprints before boarding planes to ensure that only authorized individuals were present onboard.

The first practical application of fingerprinting was made by Sir Francis Galton in 1892, but it was not until 1908 that fingerprints became widely accepted in criminal justice circles. Since then, fingerprinting has continued to grow in popularity and acceptance among the general public.

Fingerprints have been used extensively in law enforcement since the late 1970s to identify suspects. Nowadays, fingerprint scanners are common place in many public places such as banks and stores. These days, biometric technology is commonly used for identity verification purposes; however, its uses continue to expand. Recently, biometric technology has found numerous applications outside of the realm of fraud prevention. 

Today, biometric technology continues its evolution. There are now more advanced options available than ever before. Newer techniques include using face images and retinal scans. Other methods focus on tracking an individual’s movements, recognizing voices, and reading body language. It is likely that future developments will further enhance security, provide additional benefits, and reduce risks associated with biometric authentication.

As such, biometric technology provides a safer environment for depositors who want to store valuables outside their property. By offering a more secure way of accessing their safe deposit boxes, they would be encouraged to keep valuables in a private facility rather than keeping them in their homes.

Facial Recognition (FR): A Top Choice of Biometrics

In a research paper written by two European professors , it was noted that:

“Badge or password-based authentication procedures are too easy to hack. Biometrics represents a valid alternative but they suffer of drawbacks as well. Iris scanning, for example, is very reliable but too intrusive; fingerprints are socially accepted, but not applicable to non-consentient people. On the other hand, face recognition represents a good compromise between what’s socially acceptable and what’s reliable…” The latest FR technologies use a 3D camera to project light onto you while the camera’s sensors trace the features and shape of your face, storing this information as a point of reference for verification. This means that 3D FR technologies can achieve far greater accuracy than previous 2D versions and other versions of biometrics.

The advancements that separate the methods, have allowed 3D FR to provide users with a more efficient, secure, safe and personalised process, which when combined with traditional security measures like a PIN code becomes even more effective. This not only makes FR the most thorough method of authentication, but also an extremely quick, convenient and secure way to verify your identity.

Biometrics will Define Your Choice of Storage Facility

At Private Vaults Australia (PVA) we offer you secure access control by combining 3D FR, a pin code, an exclusive access key, a guarded escort and private viewing rooms at the back of house. To learn more about Biometrics and Your Safe Deposit Box, contact PVA or read the PVA blog for more interesting news, tips and ideas to guide you.


Peter Hobson

My background involves the ownership of many businesses including owning and running multiple Chiropractic offices but mainly focused in Nerang on the Gold Coast for 30 Years.

I have a passion for accumulating and holding Bullion and have done so for many years. My extensive Business skills and Bullion knowledge makes it easy to assist others buying, selling and storing their Bullion.

Peter and Cassie work together to assist anyone from the experienced Bullion Investors to the complete novice. They are here to answer any questions to help you.

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