ATM machines to most of us are a common sight, and we don’t really have to think twice about how to use it. Yet there are some places in the world where illiteracy is high, or perhaps the concept of an ATM is foreign, so how do you introduce that part of banking to countries like that? How would you explain ATM cards and PIN numbers to people who may not have even seen a number pad before? Cash register manufacturer NCR Corp. thinks they may have come up with a solution – biometrics.

Aimed at rural areas in developing countries such as India and China, the device is shaped like a post office box which can be commonly found in India, and it can be securely bolted to the ground and is about waist-high. Through the use of a fingerprint biometric scanner, pre-set cash buttons, a cash dispenser and receipt printer, all a user would have to do is simply press his/her thumb on the sensor and push the appropriate, color-coded button for desired denominations. The machine would then dispense the money along with a receipt.

One of the obstacles right now would be collecting fingerprints, which is a move that apparently many Westerners find intrusive, but perhaps it may be met with less resistance in India and China. However, if everyone plays along nicely, NCR could be changing the way people in rural areas get access to their money, and perhaps over time start to introduce more advanced forms of banking, but for now we think it’s a step in the right direction.

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