Costcutter becomes first grocer to trial fingerprint payments


Costcutter has become the first supermarket in the world to allow customers to make payments via the touch of a finger.

A branch of the grocery retailer at Brunel University in London is trialling a biometric payment system where customers pay by using their fingerprint‘s unique vein pattern to identify themselves and make the transaction for their goods.

The Sthaler’s Fingopay system authenticates customers by looking at the 3D pattern of veins beneath their fingertip, rather than their fingerprint.

Sthaler said vein technology was a highly secure version of identification as it could not be copied or stolen.

It uses an infrared light to create a detailed map of the vein pattern in an individual’s finger, and  it checks for a pulse and hemoglobin.

This means it requires the person to be alive when making the payment, so if in extreme unlikely circumstances a criminal hacks off someone‘s finger, it would not work.

Sthaler added that vein patterns were secure as they are stored in a database in an encrypted form as binary numbers.

While no card details are stored with the retailer or Sthaler themselves, bank  details are stored with Worldpay as per the usual procedure when one shops online.

Brunel students are already using this technology and 3000 out of 13000 are expected to sign up by November.

Sthaler also already in talks with other supermarket chains to adopt finger vein scanners at pay points across stores.

“This makes payments so much easier for customers,” Sthaler commercial director Simon Binns told The Telegraph.

“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.”

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