In Japan, you can make payment using your fingerprints


The new system is to be tested as soon as this Summer, with the intent to be fully implemented by the Olympic games. The purpose is obviously to make the shopping experience easier for tourist and thus boost the economy via increased consuming. It is also a way to prevent frauds which are still frequent with credit and debit cards – much more difficult to impersonate people this way.

At the airports, tourists will have the option to register their fingerprints (as they actually already do for immigration purposes) as well as their credit card information. From then on, they will be able to make payment simply using their fingerprints. Imagine you arrive at your hotel for a late check-in. Just put your finger on the machine and you are all set (of course, that means that you will have had to spend the time to register at the airport beforehand … Not sure that but that may be the reason why you check in so late!). With this system, no need to show your passport at the hotel.

Tourists will be able to use this fingerprint payment system is shops, restaurants and other service companies (car rental …). Another merit is tax exemption which will be taken into account automatically.

On the downside, some people are worried about privacy issues as the collected data can be tracked and monitored. Where did that person go, and what did they buy … Then again, mobile wallets are becoming more and more used (Mastercard is working on implementing fingerprints and selfies as payment identification means). Biometrics, in general, are becoming the norm more than the exception. At any rate, one has to be volunteer to use those types of payments.

Killing two birds with one stone and leaving … no stone unturned

This is yet another initiative by the Japanese government to simultaneously make tourists’ experience more enjoyable and of course boosting the economy. Transportation (new train lines), hotels’ services (e.g. onsen accepting tattooed patrons), touristic sites’ new signalization, more translated services, better access to insurance, improving means of payments, the Japanese government is on all fronts.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun