Pull My Finger... For Payment
from the they-stole-my-wallet-and-my-finger dept
A new report says Wal-Mart and Costco are investigating biometric payment systems that scan people's fingers to identify them and call up payment information. The systems are already in use at some supermarket chains, and aim to answer privacy concerns by storing just certain measurements of a person's fingerprint, rather than the entire fingerprint itself The company that makes the equipment pitches benefits to consumers of faster checkout and higher security, but enough questions have been raised about fingerprint scanners -- even beating them with Play-Doh that the security claims deserve closer scrutiny. The transaction speed is really more of a benefit for retailers, anyway, alongside the lower transaction-processing fees they can pay by getting people to use their checking accounts instead of credit or debit cards. The analyst report says a 20% cut in Wal-Mart's payment-processing costs could translate to a 3-4% increase in earnings per share within three years -- if biometric payment systems can deliver those kinds of results, expect to see them sooner rather than later, privacy concerns or no.