Buying In to Biometric Payment Systems
By George Anderson
Cub Foods is testing a biometric payment system in four of its stores in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area to give consumers the option of storing their financial information and paying for groceries with a scan of a finger. The goal, according to a report on the Retail Systems’ Web site, is to provide customers with greater convenience, security and speed at checkout.
Shoppers can enroll in the payment program at special kiosks in participating stores. Consumers need to provide proper identification, a voided check or credit/debit card and have a finger scanned.
Cub Foods is using a system developed by the San Francisco, Cal.-based Pay By Touch. According to Retail Systems, enrollment does not include scanning a person’s actual fingerprint but instead uses a process where “a set of 40 data points, based on unique heat sites on an individual’s finger” are captured for future verification. These cannot, says the report, “be reverse engineered into a fingerprint. The data points are encrypted and converted into a mathematical equation that allows for a secure identity match at the point of sale. The system is completely secure and customer information is never sold.”
Moderator’s Comment: What do you see as the advantages/disadvantages of biometric payment systems? Will these types of systems become widespread at retail
in the future or do you see another technology that consumers will prefer to biometrics? –
George Anderson – Moderator