It’s All in the Finger

It’s coming to the grocery store near you. Scientists have developed a cashless, cardless payment system, allowing shoppers to purchase by simply scanning their finger. A person’s finger is used as a form of identification that binds biometrics to credit card information.

Here’s how it works. The system uses a unique vein pattern under the skin of a person’s finger. It works because vein patterns are unique—just like your fingerprint. And why it’s better than a fingerprint is because if your fingerprint is worn off, damaged or dirty, it’s difficult to get those prints. The vein pattern remains no matter what condition the outer surface is in.

The finger credit card could make shopping easier and could help reduce fraud and identity theft.

To open an account at the bank, the procedure remains much the same. While filling out the necessary paperwork, the customer also would provide finger scans of two or three fingers. When the person makes a purchase, they would slide their finger into a holder and keep the finger steady.

A light illuminates the finger to record the pattern, and the image-processing software converts the image to a number uniquely assigned to that person’s account. Viola, the purchase is made by the touch of a finger.

Japan’s financial markets are quite interested in the finger vein technology. A law was recently passed in that country to upgrade security at ATMs. Interestingly enough, the finger vein system also could be used in conjunction to a PIN for an added layer of security.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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