Mekong Development has become the first bank in Vietnam to launch fingerprint authentication enabled debit cards, which has resulted in a tripling of its current account base.

The bank upgraded its core T24 system, provided by software vendor Temenos, to include a Biometric module that enables fingerprint authentication for customers.

Fingerprints are captured by Mekong Development at the point of opening an account, and then can be used, instead of a pin, to access funds at any one of 33 NCR SelfServ ATMs across Vietnam.

“Being the first bank in Vietnam to bring biometric fingerprint authentication to its customers confirms Mekong Development Bank’s commitment to providing the only truly convenient and personal banking experience available in the region,” said Nicholas Chee, deputy CEO and head of consumer business, Mekong Development Bank.

“Preliminary research shows that an overwhelming 91 percent of customers surveyed after activating their debit card would recommend that their family and friends sign up for the product.”

Only 20 percent of Vietnam’s 86 million population use a bank account, which provides an opportunity for financial firms to experience high growth, by attracting new customers with innovative, simple banking solutions.

Not only has Mekong’s account base tripled through the use of fingerprint technology since its launch in June, but the deposit balance per debit card account is two times higher than a regular account.

“For decades, banks worldwide have used biometrics for security and access control – to access vaults, etc. But this technology is only starting to permeate the consumer experience on a mass scale in developing countries, where it has commercial value as a means to customer acquisition,” said Lee Volante, director business solution group for APAC, Temenos.

He added: “Mekong Development Bank’s experimental nature in the field of biometrics is something for other banks to sit up and pay attention to.”

“With such innovative technology available, the opportunities for banks to capture market share are enormous, and the future of biometrics across multiple channels such as mobile and online banking is now a possibility.”