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Published On: Thu, May 11th, 2017

Are Your Customers Ready for Biometric Technology?

Biometric technology is a rapidly evolving technology that currently measures traits that are unique and specific to every human like fingerprints, facial patterns, irises, retinas and hand size. This type of technology has been increasingly implemented in public areas like airports, businesses with a certain level of security clearance, and law enforcement agencies. However, over the past few years, biometric technology has also become a subject of interest in the retail sector as a way to prevent identity theft, and eliminate check and credit card fraud. Retailers can install biometric technology at payment terminals to handle payments, which, hopefully, results in transactions occurring much faster.

Many manufacturers are now developing software exclusively for the retail industry that uses fingerprint cards at point of sale terminals, while others have developed software that can be installed by the business owner. However, the bigger question is will your customers accept their biometric information being used as an added layer of security?

Screenshot from the NBC coverage of microchip technology in the human hand

Where are Biometric Payments Currently Being Used?

Supermarkets are the primary segment of the retail industry that is using biometric payment systems on a large scale. However, there are some restaurant chains that are pilot testing the technology across the country, and some hotels and gas stations have started implementing the technology as well.

When customers want to use a credit or debit card at one of these businesses, they must submit to a fingerprint scan and register this scan along with their credit/debit card information. The business will then provide the customer with a personal account. The next time the customer wants to make a purchase, they do not have to swipe their card in the payment terminal. Instead, they just need to place their finger on the sensor to verify their identity.

The system is also being considered by banks in the processing of electronic checks. But, there is still an elephant in the room. Are customers ready to accept this alternative method of paying for goods and services, and if not, will more businesses need to consider using reputation management software to heed off any negative reviews they may receive from angry customers?

Disadvantages of Using the System

There is no technology that is absolutely foolproof, and even with biometric technology, there is the possibility of issues arising on both the consumer end and the company end. For example, there is always the possibility that a customer could be misidentified. This could restrict the customer’s access to their account. Likewise, a fingerprint scan could fail if the customer’s fingers are unusually dry or cracked.

Even with these challenges, many say that the pros of the technology outweigh the cons. It can help retailers reduce chargebacks and fraud, while providing quicker transactions and better reporting methods.

Guidelines to Consider

If you are considering using biometric technology in your business, there are some guidelines you should keep in mind. For example, know what your business needs are. Do you need a system in place to better identify customers, or are you looking to add another non-cash choice for customers?

There is no current technology available that will eliminate all risks of chargebacks and fraud. However, biometric technology may be the alternative payment solution your business needs to manage transaction times and payment options for your customers.

Author: Carol Trehearn

Facial mapping is happening now

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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