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French grocer tests payments through fingerprint


Fingerprints could be the next way consumers pay for goods at the supermarket.

An article in Planet Biometrics reports that French supermarket Auchan has been testing payment by fingerprint through a biometric reader for the past five months.

To pay for their purchases, users are required to have a WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Network) enabled payment card from MasterCard, which enables data to be exchanged over a distance of two metres, and identify themselves by placing their finger on a biometric reader.

Auchan uses technology from Natural Security, part of Auchan's electronic banking service, which makes a connection between the finger of the payer and the information contained in the chip of the card.

Reuters reported the system records the unique patterns of veins underneath a person's index finger - not the fingerprint itself.

The technology of the fingerprint reader is different compared to another contactless payment solutions, namely Near Field Communication (NFC) wireless communication technology, which requires the card to be within close proximity of the terminal.

As well, personal data is stored on the customer's bank card chip and not in a database says Natural Security's CEO Cedric Hozanne: "The biometric reader communicates with the object that I have with me, the bank card. But I don't handle it, I don't take it out of my pocket."

The system is currently being trialed on 1,500 Auchen customers with similar systems are already in use in Germany and the U.S.

Watch the video of the fingerprint technology at Auchan:

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