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Cash at your fingertips

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28/09/2006

Shoppers are being offered a means to pay for their goods using a fingerprint linked to their bank account. Andrew Partridge reports 

If you’re the forgetful type, prone to leaving your wallet and credit cards behind when you leave home, then a new system of biometric authentication could be ideal for you.
No longer will you need a card to access your bank account or your credit card account – your fingerprint is all you will need to access your money using a new system from technology company, Pay By Touch.

The Midshires Co-operative supermarket in Oxford is trialling the system from the technology firm, giving its customers the option of paying for groceries by simply having their fingertips scanned.

The idea has already taken off in the US, where 2.3 million people are using fingerprint recognition to pay for their shopping. And the company behind the scheme is confident that the idea could take off here too.

John Rogers, founder, chairman and CEO of Pay By Touch, says: “We’ve seen enormous consumer interest in Pay By Touch for its ability to enable a faster, more convenient and secure way to make purchases.”

The new system is free to use and customers can register for the system at home using the Internet, or by visiting participating stores.

Pay By Touch claims the new system is secure, as its technology does not use actual fingerprints – instead it reads a set of 40 unique measurements on the fingertip that are then encrypted and hosted at secure data centres. And the company claims that the measurements can not be reverse engineered into a false fingerprint by potential fraudsters – protecting users of the scheme from any theft.

However builders could have problems using the system, because manual work wears down their fingerprints, so the system will not be for everyone.
 

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