ATMs That Scan Your Eyeballs for Cash Being Tested in U.S.

PHOTO:A Citigroup Inc. Citibank branch is seen in this file photo, Dec. 8, 2014, in New York. PlayBloomberg/Getty Images
WATCH Citigroup Eyes New Technology at ATMs

Forget the ATM card. A company is currently testing ATMs that allow customers to withdraw cash by simply scanning their irises.

Diebold, based in North Canton, Ohio, is behind the iris-scanning biometric technology. The company has teamed up with Citigroup, though the bank doesn't have immediate plans to bring the technology to market yet. Some consumers who are testing these ATMs said they are wary of the new technology.

"There was some concern with registering the iris," said David Kuchenski, who oversees Diebold's business development of innovation. "It comes down to how you portray to the consumer. If it’s very sci-fi, it’s less appealing. Some people were uncomfortable with scanning their iris, but okay with registering their fingerprints."

The concept requires that consumers register their credentials and agree to have their irises scanned, which could potentially be completed at the terminal itself.

"I like to think of it as a high-res photo of the face," said Kuchenski. "To me, if you think about the old sci-fi movies where the person looks into the iris scanner, that experience is very intimidating to the consumer. If you position, it so it’s more transparent, the adoption curve will be quicker."

The self-service machine is called Irving, after Washington Irving, author of "Sleepy Hollow." The idea of the "headless ATM" is that the machine, equipped without a screen and card reader, will provide faster transactions, with cash withdrawals taking just 10 seconds.

PHOTO: In a test of eye-scanning ATM technology, customers would have their iris scanned in advance as a method of authentication.Diebold
In a test of eye-scanning ATM technology, customers would have their iris scanned in advance as a method of authentication.

In Citi's test, customers sign into an mobile app and choose how much money to withdraw. Then, their eyes are scanned at the ATM to receive the cash.

A spokesman for Citi said customers have reported that the experience with the new ATMs is "convenient, fast and secure."

"There were also questions and some degree of confusion about how it works, though we would characterize that as typical of any new technology," a Citi spokesman told ABC News.

PHOTO: Diebold Inc. introduced the Irving ATM concept, Oct. 26, 2015. Diebold
Diebold Inc. introduced the "Irving" ATM concept, Oct. 26, 2015.

Other banks have tested cardless ATMs using mobile phones, but Citi is Diebold's first banking customer to test the iris scanner.

Kuchenski said he believes these ATMs have advantages for banks and consumers alike.

"Because we’ve removed some of the components and there are fewer moving pieces for financial institutions, less moving parts means less service," he said. "For the consumer, we’re trying to create a unique user experience. It really is seamless."