Biometric payment systems put money at your fingertips

JCB tests its palm payment system in Indonesia in October.
PHOTO: Nikkei Asian Review

TOKYO - Fintech is rapidly changing the way consumers pay for dinner, or even a dip in a public bath.

New cashless, cardless payment systems are sprouting up in Japan one after another. Thanks to the marriage of finance and technology, consumers are now able to carry out transactions with nothing more than a touch or wave.

This past summer, Washoku Dining Kuroda, a Japanese-style pub in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward, installed a biometric payment system. Customers simply place their thumbs on a small sensor. Naturally, individuals need to register before going for a night on the town.

The system was developed by a Tokyo startup called Liquid. Rather than the integrated-circuit cards used in typical electronic wallet systems, it identifies customers by their fingerprints and -- for extra security -- veins. The system recognises the electrical signals emitted by the body, too.

"It's impossible to fake the fingerprints because Liquid Pay can determine whether the prints are those of a living person," said Yasuhiro Kuda, Liquid's president.

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