BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to a terminal, such as a self-service 5 terminal (SST), and typically an automated teller machine (ATM). Aspects of the invention also relate to a terminal for carrying out non-cash transactions, such as in outlets where customers purchase goods or services using credit or debit cards.
A conventional self-service terminal (SST), such as an automated teller machine (ATM), includes a card reader device to initiate a transaction, a keypad to input information and instructions to the terminal and a display to output 15 instructions and information to the user. These devices are expensive and require a level of assumed knowledge and effort from the user.
In addition, these devices must be located conveniently for users of the terminal. In practice, a terminal will typically 20 be set out in a compromise configuration; of course such a configuration may involve some difficulty for users who are shorter or taller than average, and will likely prove difficult if not impossible to access by wheelchair users. A somewhat similar difficulty arises in "drive-up" applications, where it 25 is intended that the user may complete a transaction or operation using the terminal without leaving their vehicle. In this application, the terminal must attempt to accommodate variations in vehicle configuration as well as physical differences in users. 30
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is among the objectives of aspects of the present invention to provide a self-service terminal which obviates or mitigates these difficulties. 35
According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a self-service terminal comprising:
non-contact interface means for enabling a user to interact with the terminal without requiring physical contact with the terminal, biometric sensing means for establishing the identity of the user by sensing a physical trait or characteristic of the user; and
processor means for controlling the terminal. 45
According to a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of operating a self-service terminal, the method comprising:
enabling a user to interact with the terminal without requiring physical contact with the terminal; and 50
establishing the identity of the user by sensing a physical trait or characteristic of the user.
The provision of non-contact interface means in combination with biometric sensing means allows a user to interact with a terminal while requiring little or no physical contact 55 or interaction with the terminal. This offers a number of significant advantages over existing terminals. For example, where the terminal is an ATM, it may be possible to dispense with a number of features found in conventional ATMs, such as the card reader device and input slot, the keypad to input 60 information and the display. Accordingly, it may be possible to provide an ATM in accordance with the invention at significantly lower cost. Further, as there may be little or no need to interact with the terminal physically, a terminal may be made more easily accessible to users of a wide variety of 65 statures and wheelchair users. Similarly, in "drive-through" applications, a terminal may be more easily accessed by
users in a variety of vehicles. In preferred embodiments of the present invention in the form of ATMs, the only physical contact the user has with the terminal may be to withdraw banknotes from an appropriate cash dispenser slot.
The non-contact interface means may include one or both of means for outputting terminal instructions for the user in natural speech and means for inputting spoken user instructions for the terminal. Thus, the terminal and user may "converse".
The biometric sensing means may take any suitable form, preferably utilizing a non-contact technique such as iris pattern recognition, but said means may use other biometric patterns including facial geometry, fingerprints, palmprints, voice patterns, finger geometry or other physical traits or characteristics, or a combination of one or more of these.
Preferably, the biometric sensing means identifies the user, such that an operator may utilize the terminal without having to present a identification card or the like. Alternatively, said means may be used to verify the identity of a user, where the user has "claimed" an identity by presenting a means for identifying themself, such as an identification card or the like, to the terminal. In such an embodiment it is preferred that the identifying means does not require physical contact with the terminal, such as an identification card that may be read by the terminal using a camera of the like, or is capable of remote interrogation or communication with the terminal.
In order to establish the identity of a user by one or more biometric identifiers, it is of course first necessary to create a record of the user's biometric identifiers, which allows comparison between a biometric identifier sensed by the terminal and the stored information. When a best match is made, the user is offered the services available from the terminal. The information may be stored on a "smart" card carried by the user, or may be stored in a central database.
According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a non-cash transaction terminal comprising:
interface means for enabling entry of transaction details;
biometric sensing means for identifying a user by sensing a physical trait or characteristic of the user; and
processor means for controlling the terminal.
According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of carrying out a non-cash transaction, the method comprising:
providing a terminal;
entering transaction details in the terminal; and identifying a user by sensing a physical trait or characteristic of the user; and processing the transaction.
These aspects of the invention have application in retail stores and the like where users or customers wish to purchase goods or services. As the customer is identified by the terminal, there is no requirement for the customer to present a credit or debit card. Clearly this is more convenient for the customer and minimizes the possibility of fraud; a thief cannot obtain or "steal" an individual's biometric identifiers, whether this is an iris pattern or other identifier.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
These and other aspects of the present invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a self-service terminal (SST), in the from of an automated teller machine (ATM), in accordance with an embodiment of one aspect of the present invention; and