We have taken a moment from all things fashion to appreciate some interesting retail tech of the supermarket variety. It has been reported by the Telegraph that a UK supermarket has become the first in the world to let shoppers pay for groceries using just the veins in their fingertips.
The Telegraph writes, ‘Customers at the Costcutter store, at Brunel University in London, can now pay using their unique vein pattern to identify themselves.’
Katie Morley reports that the firm behind the technology, Sthaler, has said it is in “serious talks” with other major UK supermarkets to adopt hi-tech finger vein scanners at pay points across thousands of stores.
So How Does It Work
According to Sthaler, it works by using infrared to scan people’s finger veins and then links this unique biometric map to their bank cards. Customers’ bank details are then stored with payment provider Worldpay, in the same way you can store your card details when shopping online. Shoppers can then turn up to the supermarket with nothing on them but their own hands and use it to make payments in just three seconds.
The technology uses an infrared light to create a detailed map of the vein pattern in your finger. It requires the person to be alive, meaning in the unlikely event a criminal hacks off someone’s finger, it would not work.
The main reason given for this approach of paying is based on the fact that many studies have found that finger recognition payment is vulnerable to being hacked. This new method is apparently the most secure biometric identification method currently available. Sthaler confirmed to the Telegraph that their technology cannot be copied or stolen.
Simon Binns, commercial director of Sthaler, told the Daily Telegraph: “This makes payments so much easier for customers.They don’t need to carry cash or cards. They don’t need to remember a pin number. You just bring yourself. This is the safest form of biometrics. There are no known incidences where this security has been breached”
He continues, “When you put your finger in the scanner it checks you are alive, it checks for a pulse, it checks for haemoglobin. ‘Your vein pattern is secure because it is kept on a database in an encrypted form, as binary numbers. No card details are stored with the retailer or ourselves, it is held with Worldpay, in the same way it is when you buy online.”
With dozens of students already using the system, Sthaler expects 3,000 students out of 13,000 are going to be signed up to this new payment method by November 2017. After that, what? Well they hope to make it widely available. Sthaler explained that it only takes just one minute to sign up to the system initially and, after that, you will only be seconds away from paying for your shopping with your finger.