You wouldn’t share your fingerprint… would you?

Do you let your friends borrow your bank card?

Would you let your brother access your online bank account?

Do your kids know your PIN number?

Chances are, you will have said no to all of those questions, and rightly so. If you answered yes, you may want to reassess your thinking, and how well you can trust those with who you share your most intimate financial details.

But what if your banking details were less tangible than a card, letters typed on a keyboard, or a set of digits?

What if they were tied to a fingerprint? Would you share that around?

I’d hope not, and that’s a stance also taken by the major banks too, as noted by SC Magazine which today singled out Apple Pay, the newly-launched payment system increasingly favoured by cool kids with iPhones and even (yes, I’ve seen it with my own eyes) the odd iPad-wielding nerd.

Utilising fingerprint scanning technology (Touch ID), Apple Pay offers an incredible level of convenience when it comes to paying for low-cost goods and services but it is not without its issues.

As with most aspects of security, the potential pitfalls are far less about technology and far more to do with human fallibility – namely that desire to trump sense with convenience that tempts the best of us at times.

In this case, SC Mag warns of the dangers of passing an iPhone round the entire clan so each parent, child, sibling and cousin can enjoy the thrill of adding their unique digit print to the device’s repository of saved fingerprints.

For that, it says, may be a violation of their online banking terms and conditions.

And we all know what happens when fraudulent activity is later traced back to a customer’s mistake – no payout!

As Jeremy Seth Davis notes, banks (quite rightly in this case, in my opinion) will say no dice when a customer queries an unauthorised transaction on their account when it is known that they have gone all cop on their family, minus the messy ink. Likewise, a collector of fingerprints is also likely to be shooed away if or when they ever cry for help in the wake of obviously fraudulent activity on their account.

The banks all say much the same thing:

You must ensure you only register your own fingerprints (and not anyone else’s).

Got that?

Good! Now, for your homework, have a think about where else this advice may apply.

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