Retailers test paying by fingerprint
Major retailers are putting in payment systems that let your finger do the paying. Paying for products with a fingerprint, rather than checks, cards or electronic devices, is among the newest cashless options at checkout.
Biometric access, as the process is called, might have a Big Brother feeling, but it is expected to speed customer checkout and cut identity fraud. In some ways, biometric access tests consumers' willingness to give up some privacy to gain convenience.
A customer signs up by having a finger scanned into a database by special machines and designating a credit or debit card to which purchases will be charged. To make a purchase, consumers have their finger read at checkout, often on a pad incorporated into a console that also reads swipe cards and provides for personal identification number (PIN) entry.
Though once only commonplace in legal situations, fingerprinting is being used more in commerce. Institutions from banks to pawnshops are fingerprinting to authenticate transactions. Transaction processing time is less than 30 seconds, compared with three minutes before using the technology.
The increase in interest in biometric access stems from an increase in fraud involving more money, as well as a decline in the cost of the technology. The system now costs about ＄ 10,000, experts say.