Customers of the Costcutter store at Brunel University in London don’t need cash or a credit card to pay for purchases. No PIN number or password to remember. They can now pay with a quick scan of the unique vein pattern in their fingertip. Their biometric data is linked to their bank card for payment.
In the store, a small scanner uses infrared light to read the shopper’s finger vein pattern. When you put a finger in the scanner, it checks for a pulse, and for the presence of hemoglobin (a protein molecule in red blood cells). This is a secure method of biometric authentication. To date there have been no reports of this type of biometric security being hacked.
The retailer does not keep the biometric data. The data is stored in an encrypted form, as binary numbers, by the financial institution – here Worldpay UK. This is similar to the way personal and credit card information can be saved by a financial institution for an online retailer to provide shoppers a convenient payment method.
Students appreciate the convenience of being able to shop on the go without carrying a wallet or handbag. The store expects to have 3,000 of 13,000 students signed up by November. Sthaler, the finger pay technology company, hopes to bring the technology to more retail stores, as well as nightclubs, gyms, football clubs and more. Vein pay technology is already being used in some countries – Poland, Turkey and Japan – for cash withdrawal at ATMs.
British supermarket offers 'finger vein' payment in worldwide first
By Katie Morley, The Telegraph UK, September 20,2017