National Registry Inc. said it expects the price of its fingerprint scanners to drop by about half, to $500, by the end of the year.

Several of the nation's largest banks have expressed interest in using the scanners to positively identify customers in branches and at automated teller machines. But the $1,000-plus price tag was prohibitive, bank representatives said.

"We are reaching the price point at which banks could afford to deploy these systems in their branches," said Clinton C. Fuller, vice president at the National Registry.

National Registry's scanners, based on biometric technology, capture images of fingerprints. The images can be compared against master computer files at a bank to authorize account access.

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