Many merchants are aware the payments industry is changing. Over the last decade alone, the check has fallen out of favor as plastic became the preferred method for many, all the while cash has been hanging on as a possible way to pay for things. Now, mobile devices are emerging as a potential contender to the payment crown and are starting to rock the boat. This has many merchants considering an upgrade—all while there is yet a new method that is being tested that could change everything yet again.
Biometrics is the use of unique physical features like fingerprints or your face, being used as a way of identification. We have all seen a television crime drama that uses a retail security camera using facial recognition software to capture a perpetrator. That's biometrics in use. Now, that same technology and concept is being tested as a way to pay for jeans or gas.
There are two different products that have been patented and tested. The first comes from the company PayTango. They have created a card reader and scanner that aims to connect a customer's fingerprints with a credit, debit or loyalty card. Basically, instead of pulling out a card or even pulling up a mobile application, a customer would just place their thumb on a reader and complete the transaction that way.
"What we can do is take biometric data and transmit it as card data. The computer looks at it the same way," Brian Groudan, the co-founder of PayTango, told Mashable.
This method could also be used as a security measure. The Financial Express profiles a recent proposal in India that would allow banks to use fingerprints as an additional way to authorize an account when a customer uses an ATM or their card at a point of sale terminal. This would replace the use of a unique PIN.
The future is here, pay with your face
There are also companies taking this idea to another level. Finnish company Uniqul has created the first system that uses facial recognition software to act as a payment method. According to a profile from Mashable, the system can be implemented at any POS station and would require customers to stare into the built-in camera, From their the software takes over and matches your image with your account and the transaction is completed.
While security concerns could be an issue, the company told the news source that it uses a "military grade" encryption to ensure that customer information and client data are secure at all times.
Just an example of the evolving industry
It will be a while before face and fingerprint scanning technology finds its way into small pizza places around the corner or the mom and pop convenience store. However, it does highlight the speed with which the payment industry is currently involving. Consumers are becoming more entranced by technology and businesses need to try and keep up if they want to attract new business and engage with customers.
This does not mean that merchants need to run out and buy fingerprint scanners, but small upgrades to traditional systems can be a good first step. With the help of a retail solution provider, any company can take steps to upgrade its cash register system or digital menu boards, for example, and step into the 21st century.