Are you afraid that using a credit card for shopping may make you a victim of an ID fraud? Well, now a new technology based on personalised fingerprints is here to address your worries. With the revolutionary new system, which is being introduced in Europe, it will be possible to buy a product by paying through fingerprints.
The so called 'digiPROOF fingerprint payment' system is already very popular in Germany.
To pay for the product purchased, a customer will have to press his/her finger or thumb on to a scanner at the till, which acts as a register of customers' prints and their bank details. The total will then be deducted from the customer's account.
In Germany, the technology is popular even amongst old people. "Older people like it better than young people. Sometimes when they get older, they get shortsighted and it can be embarrassing to fumble around for their coins at the till or peer at their credit cards," said Werner Schneider, store manager at the luxurious department store, Wagener Gallery.
"We introduced the system two years ago and we now have 6,000 customers using it out of a total of 15,000 regulars. It's good for the customer as it's faster and it's good for us because people who sign up tend to be more loyal shoppers," Schneider added.
The system is also being used in school canteens, where parents pay into an account and can limit their child's daily lunch allowance. The person behind digiPROOF is Ulrich Kipper, chief executive of technology company It-Werke.
According to Kipper, the new system may provide a solution to the current panic about ID fraud. "Stealing from people's credit cards would be yesterday's news with this technology. It would mean the end to credit card fraud. Every time you use a card, you are putting your details out there. But with digiPROOF, you register details once into a secure database," said Ulrich.
Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands, and several companies in Saudi Arabia have shown interest in using the digiPROOF fingerprint system. It just takes a few minutes for a customer to sing up to digiPROOF. All one has to do is to fill a form, and swipe an identification proof like a passport and a bank card, and scan once dabs. The registration process completed about five minutes thereafter.
Sion Roberts, director of consumer industries and retail at global technology company EDS, said: "Customers are most concerned with queues, so anything that can be done to speed up a transaction is appealing. He added: "The other idea is that, if it's in school canteens, the technology can be used to send parents a report detailing what their child has been eating that week, which may help in fighting childhood obesity."
Roberts, however, admitted that the digiPROOF fingerprint system might have two major drawbacks. "Some people might be concerned about putting their driving licence number or passport number on to the database, so there might be a bit of work to do with privacy. Retailers have also just spent a lot on rolling out chip and PIN, and might not be so keen to pay for another new system," he said.
"Having said that, research shows one-fifth of people would be keen to use biometric payments and many would even be happy to have a chip inserted into their arms. We will probably see more trials of this kind rolling out in the UK over the next 12 to 18 months," he added.