It is surprising to think that the first payment made with a debit/credit card happened just 38 years ago – and since then, the solutions keep emerging to make our lives easier and practical.

Credit cards opened the doors to more secured methods, with lower fess, which further encouraged the growth of e-commerce business and international transfers. Amazon was the pioneering retailer to install online payments methods and investing in their digital purchasing experience. Today, we have a multitud of mobile payment and digital currency platforms, such as, Paypal, Bitcoin, Stripe.

But my list does not end up here. The latest big trend is about to explode. Soon we will be able to have everything we want with a simple finger touch – of course, as soon as we have money in our accounts – this will be the only requirement  from our side! What I mean is that there won’t be excuses anymore for going out and not being able to pay a bill or a service because you forgot your wallet or your phone at home. The payments will be done by biometric authentication, the famous fingerprint payment.

The fingerprint payments have been used already in the United States for over two million customers and the method can bring fantastic advantages to the retailers who decide to embrace it, besides its “cool factor”. The new technology has been gaining new adopters and fans all over the world, and new providers are betting for its promising future.

FA RETAIL interviewed with Javier Peso, the CPO of Touché, a fingerprint technology provider with operations in Singapore and Barcelona, and he explained to us the advantages of the system and the challenges the company has faced during the process.

Javier explained brick-and-mortar stores are now fighting for differentiation and recognition, and  businesses can pop up in the market whenever they are able to interact with their shoppers and to make them feel unique. “The purchase experience is the axis and the differentiation of our business, and it is based on 2 pillars: emotion and convenience. When we are able to improve these two variables, we increase our client’s satisfaction, and of course the clients return more often and spend more every time”.

Learn more about how it works.

 

What is behind the payment process?

Besides being cool, innovative and practical for speeding the payment transactions, the main objective for the company is to offer something much bigger for the physical business:  a giant loyalty program that can be integrated to any retailer CRM program and easily accessed by the shopper when he/she arrives at the store. For the retailer, this means having an important database with valuable information about its customers, while customers will definitely benefit from customized rewards and long-term relationships

. And now you ask – “Wait a second, I already have that benefit at my regular grocery store”. Ok, the proposal is to have just ONE large program, where your data will be available for all the retailers’ members of the technology and where you are subscribed: supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, department stores, parking, etc.

 

Sustainable and available 24 hours

Other advantages mentioned by Javier regarding the system are: Sustainable and Available for whenever you need it:

  • The stores prints 38 different promotional coupons, which many times most of them are not even target to our needs = sustainable
  • You have your mobile with you to check your digital coupons or to finish your payment process, but it is not charged or it is without connection = available  

All you need to do is check your coupons on screens installed at the store (for example), purchase what you want, touch the payment device and leave!

 

Challenges

Of course, as any other business this one also has its challenges, and Javier also recognizes there is a conflict. Fingerscan reduces the fraud, once officially nobody could try to “be you” using a stolen card, for example, but on the other hand, the method can potentially cause fear on people, that do not feel comfortable leaving their ID once the biometric payment can be associated with law enforcement or unfamiliarity about the destination of our personal data.  Providers of the service state the fingerprints are translated into encrypted codes that associate the client to a bank account and a profile – but they do not keep the actual fingerprint.

Another key factor for the business is to prove to the retailer its advantages, once this must replace the current payment devices by the ones that actually have the ‘scan system’. The administration fees for the merchants should be the same or even lower.

 

Is it a disruptive business? What happens with credit cards?

It is a disruptive concept that adds value to the UX, but the new payment method will still co-exist with card platforms and they will be complementary and partners – the payment devices will be the same for both systems and each shopper decide how to pay.

When we asked Javier about his opinion on when this system would be totally spread out, he told us that not on the short-term because of the complexity on combining all the CRM platforms of each retailer, but he ensures the technology is the “boom” to bring the facility of E-commerce payments to the physical stores. This integration between both worlds, online and offline, provides the great execution of multichannel strategies.

 

Would it work for you? Why? When?

Can you think of a situation in what fingerprint payment would be a fantastic improvement or even a breakthrough solution? Tell us your ideas.

Here is mine:

I think it can be great for when we want to extend the party and have some (extra) beers with friends, and don’t want to be worried of forgetting our wallet somewhere or being robbed on your way back home – after some bottles.

What is yours?

 

Written by Fernanda Accorsi