Mobile payments is a very active space with solutions like Google Wallet, PayPal wallet, Visa’s V.me, Isis mobile wallet and Square wallet transforming the way we make payments. The goal of all these services is to remove the wallet out of the picture and make your smartphone your wallet by storing credit card information on phones or in the cloud. Paytouch, a payments solution company in Spain, has introduced yet another new way to pay. Using your fingerprints.
How does this work? First, you go to the Paytouch website and sign up for an account with your credit card. Next, you visit a store which has its fingerprint-enabled payment terminal and make a purchase with the registered credit card and then use your fingerprints. This will link your fingerprints with your online account. You can also login to the website and add/change credit cards on file. Now whenever you use your fingerprints at a terminal, it will use the card on your online account. This is a great solution as it also eliminates smartphones out of the picture so phone batteries dying during checkouts in stores can be avoided.
So is this secure? Yes and No. Yes because Paytouch terminals use two fingerprints, which makes it very secure as both prints have to match in order for the transaction to go through. No because your credit card information is stored online on Paytouch’s system and while they follow security standards to encrypt data, everything is hackable and if they were targeted by hackers, credit card information could be compromised. Another issue is that is can be relatively easy to use fingerprints of the previous user to make payments. Human skin is oily and leaves marks on all surfaces touched. So the biometric reader will have your fingerprints if not wiped with a cloth after every use. Someone could just press on the reader with a take or cotton or other material to scan your existing fingerprints left on the reader, but this is not practical as stores would have people at the terminals.
One improvement Paytouch could make is the ability to add multiple cards to the online account and give a nickname to each card. Whenever you use your fingerprints at the terminal, it could show the list of cards and you could pick and confirm your selection. This would enable use of cards with preferable rewards depending on the store.
Paytouch is only available in Europe at the moment. More information at: Paytouch