By Lauren Lowrey,
You’ve had a long day at work. Realizing your pantry is barren, you make an impromptu stop by the grocery store. You breeze through the aisles and into the checkout line – stomach growling – while the man in front fumbles through his pockets for exact change. Suddenly, your eyes fix on a deserted self-checkout line too daunting for those afraid of new and insurmountable technological applications (insert technology-geek giggle here). It’s the biometric Pay By Touch fingerprint reader you read about in SecureIDNews.
Pay By Touch is a free service that allows you to pay for purchases or cash checks with just the touch of your finger. Customers sign up online, entering information for the payment account(s) that they would like accessible with their finger scan. After registering on line, the new user simply goes to a merchant that accepts Pay By Touch and enrolls the fingerprint biometric into the system. They are ready to pay biometrically.
Thanks to a presence in grocery and convenience stores around the US and UK, Pay By Touch is making life easier, one finger at a time. Thriftway in Seattle, Pick N’ Save in Milwaukee, and Co-Op stores in the UK are among a few places that accept Pay By Touch. In its five-month pilot test in South Carolina Piggly Wiggly grocery stores, customers gave stellar reviews for both ease and efficiency during check out.
When a user first enrolls, they are prompted to create a seven digit number that will aid the system in locating their information quickly. The number is not secret, but only acts as a clarifying preface to the finger scan. The company suggests the user’s 7-digit phone number making it easy to remember, after all, the fingerprint is what grants access, not the 7-digit number.
After inputting the 7-digit number, the Pay By Touch finger reader then converts a set of data points from the individual’s finger scan into a numeric representation. This number is created at enrollment – when the user visits a Pay By Touch point of sale reader for the first time. When the user returns to a reader in the future, the number is recreated by the reader and compared to the number originally enrolled in the system. If it matches, the user may proceed but if it does not match, the transaction is denied.
The Pay By Touch finger scanning technology does not store actual fingerprints; instead, it creates a set of 40 data points that cannot be reverse engineered into a fingerprint. The data points are then encrypted and converted into a “mathematical equation that allows for a secure identity match at retail point of sale.”
The convenient side to utilizing Pay By Touch is that when signing up online, you can add many different payment types: debit, credit, etc. This way, you’re never tied into using one payment or the other. The customer is also not burdened by shuffling through their wallet or the possibilities of identity theft. Biometric payment is highly secure.
As the merchant, you can decide which payment methods your store will accept from the Pay By Touch wallet. As a convenience, you can also choose the order in which the methods are displayed. This way you can encourage your customers to use lower cost forms of payment like debit cards or checking accounts. Merchants who have used Pay By Touch at their POS report a shift to lower-cost payment methods, stronger customer loyalty, and more linkage to their loyalty programs.
Pay By Touch is not only for point of sale purposes, but also for secure payroll or government check cashing. It’s less expensive than most check cashing outlets. Once enrolled in Pay By Touch, the customer does not have to show their ID and other personal information every time you cash a check.
So, next time you’re in a store with a Pay By Touch application, give it a try! You may just get hooked on the ease and simplicity of day-to-day biometrics.