Biometrics-based personal identification is regarded as an effective method for automatically recognizing, with a high confidence, a person's identity. This paper presents a new biometric approach to online personal identification using palmprint technology. In contrast to the existing methods, our online palmprint identification system employs low-resolution palmprint images to achieve effective personal identification. The system consists of two parts: a novel device for online palmprint image acquisition and an efficient algorithm for fast palmprint recognition. A robust image coordinate system is defined to facilitate image alignment for feature extraction. In addition, a 2D Gabor phase encoding scheme is proposed for palmprint feature extraction and representation. The experimental results demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed system.