Retailers looking to biometric identity systems to increase efficiency at the register

FORT WAYNE, Ind. Retailers are looking for ways to speed up the movement of lines at their stores and to increase safety involving customer’s financial records. As a result, the companies are looking at biometric identity authentication systems as a way to increase customer satisfaction, according to journalgazette.net.

A couple of these systems rely on fingerprint identification wherein the consumer allows a scanned image to be taken of his index finger, which is then converted into a mathematical formula. Whenever the person’s fingerprint is scanned at a store, a match can be made between the latest scan and the mathematically coded “image” on file. The consumer then can specify the financial account to which the purchase should be charged.

These systems allow the consumer to create and access a virtual wallet containing electronic versions of credit cards, a driver’s license, checks and other documents that cannot be stolen. Moreover, a person’s age can be verified to ensure that only those customers meeting age requirements have legal access to alcohol and tobacco.

It has been estimated that 64 seconds are needed to complete the average retail transaction using a bank check and 48 seconds using a credit card. A fingerprint scanning system allows the same transaction to be completed in only 14 seconds.

Fingerprint scans are only one type of biometric system in commercial use. Some retailers and ATM systems have introduced devices that scan the consumer’s iris to make a positive identification by matching it with a previously stored image. Other systems use voice recognition software to authenticate identity.

It's estimated that 3.5 million consumers already use biometric systems from the company Pay By Touch at more than 3,000 retail outlets, including Jewel-Osco and Albertson’s, according to journalgazette.

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