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Korean airports to expand operation of biometric check-in system

Sept. 30, 2022 - 15:00 By Lee Seung-ku
Passengers line up for check-in at Gimpo International Airport departures on Friday, just before South Korea's National Foundation Day holidays. (Yonhap)

South Korean nationals traveling through South Korea’s airports are expected to enjoy wider access to a new check-in system that works with biometric information obtained through palm vein recognition technology.

The Korea Financial Telecommunications and Clearings Institute (KFTC) said Friday it had signed a business agreement with the Korea Airports Corporation and nine major financial corporations to operate the new biometric check-in system at 14 gateways across the country. Incheon Airport was excluded from the list of airports being serviced.

The new check-in system allows travelers to register their palm veins in advance at any branch of the nine financial firms who signed the agreement. The biometric information will then be shared with the Korea Airports Corporation to be used when confirming passenger identity during check-in at 14 airports across the country.

The nine firms participating are KB Kookmin, NH NongHyup, Woori, Shinhan, Hana, DGB Daegu Bank, local agricultural and livestock cooperatives, Saemaeul Geumgo, and the National Credit Union Federation.

Passengers who register their palm veins will be able to speed through check-in without having to present traditional identification documents, according to officials.

The latest agreement between airports and financial firms will make the information registration process more convenient, as it allows passengers to do so prior to arriving at the airport, according to the KFTC. Currently, passengers can only submit registrations on-site after arriving at airports.

Data from domestic flights departing from Gimpo and Jeju International Airports showed that using biometrics greatly reduced check-in times, with the entire process from luggage check-in to passenger identification taking only five to six minutes.

The service, however, is offered only for Korean nationals who hold bank accounts with the financial firms that signed the agreement. More than 6 million South Koreans already use biometrics for financial services, according to the KFTC.