Japan is introducing a system that will allow tourists to use fingerprints for payments while traveling.
We have recently seen the introduction of some innovative biometric systems, such as chip implants that can be used to pay for train fares and the use of heart dimensions as ID. Soon, tourists visiting Japan will have the option of using next-generation fingerprint-based biometrics to ease their travel. Biometric authentication company Liquid, Inc. has begun a full-scale introduction of Touch & Pay, a fingerprint authentication system that will allow tourists to register and buy train tickets, sightseeing tours, check in at hotels, pay for goods and services, and even ship parcels home using fingerprints alone. Tourists will no longer need to worry about lost wallets, remembering pin numbers, or long lines for tickets.
Tourists register their address, personal ID, fingerprints, and payment methods on Touch & Pay’s Total Wallet before leaving home. Once in Japan, they can then pay for goods and services across the country using fingerprints alone. The biometric system is designed to use far more fingerprint feature points than other types of biometric systems. These fingerprint feature points are digitized and encrypted, making it impossible to recreate the fingerprint, even if the data is stolen. The system claims to be 90,000 times more accurate than standard fingerprint or vein authentication. The system uses machine learning index search technology to speed up the authentication process, making it possible to handle large numbers of users at one time.
Touch & Pay is one of several infrastructure improvement projects being promoted by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, with a goal of improving travel and business opportunities in the country. Field trials originally took place in around 220 popular hotels and sightseeing spots in smaller cities, and now a full-scale roll-out has begun in facilities all across Japan. The system is planned to be fully operational across Japan by 2020. How might similar biometric payment systems eventually change the way we shop and travel everywhere?