2 minute read

Pay By Touch was a company that provided a service which would allow you to pay for purchases with just your finger. Here we are, 12 years later and we’re almost there with Apple Pay. The problems I saw back in the day still exist, which makes sense why Apple and other smart phone vendors are doing an end round with the phone. Many people in the US now have a smart phone, so it’s almost as ubiquitus as fingers, but the buy in from both vendors and consumers still exists.

Pay By Touch

Dave Cline writes

Pay By Touch is a service that allows you to pay for purchases in one easy step. It uses a simple method of finger imaging to link you to your financial data without the need to carry cash, credit or debit cards, loyalty cards or checks.

The only problem with this kind of technology is that people have to do a couple of things for it to work.

  1. Customers have to sign up for it
  2. Vendors have to have the machines in the store for it to work.

I also have other questions. For example, how do I make sure what kind of payment I use. For example, there are times that I would want to use a credit card and others that I may want to use a check. Does the reader provide an option to choose what payment account to use?

What about vendors? Since this is free to the customers, that I bet the vendors will have to pay for the service. If so, what is the pricing model. Seems to me that they would prefer not to use “yet another technology” in addition to the check verification and credit card technologies out there already.

There is one store here locally, that looks really cool, but I stoped going to becuase they don’t accept credit cards. My guess is because it is expensive. If this is the same thing, then I don’t see how this changes anything.

Now, there are things that I do like about this. It is convinient. I always have my finger with me. If it were ever to become ubiquitous, then I would not have to carry around cards that could be stollen or lost. Finally, I like the idea that they store a hash instead of the actual information about the fingerprint. That’s nice to know.

My final concern would involve privacy policy changing. I rather not have them selling my information to other orginizations.

Comment Posted by: Pete Bartolik on October 17, 2003 09:31 AM

Hi Dave, good questions. I work with Pay By Touch on its communications programs, so let me try to answer them:

– Yes, the reader does in fact present you with choices on which account to pay from. Whatever accounts you registered would be presented as options.

– Pricing will be based on savings realized by merchants.

– On privacy, the company is committed to not revealing any information.

Question from me – what store were you referring to?