Biometrics Point-Of-Purchase Using Palm Print To Speed Up Payment
April 15, 2014

Quixter Speeds Up Payment With Palm Print

Enid Burns for - Your Universe Online

The palm might be the next promising payment method, according to various media reports. Quixter, a Sweden-based start-up, aims to deploy palm scanners at check-out to help speed payment.

The vein structure in the hand provides a unique pattern, similar to fingerprints, where the individual scanning his palm can be identified. A new point-of-payment system, Quixter allows for quick payment by asking individuals to punch in the last four digits of their phone number and scan their hand, Engadget reports.

In order to pay using this method, consumers have to set up their account. "You have to swing one of the scanner-enabled stores, give it your social security number, bank info and phone number, then scan your palm three times. After that's all done, you then activate your service on its website and fill out another form. Leifland says that each subsequent payment transaction only takes about five seconds to complete though, so you'll have to do that cost-benefit analysis on your own," wrote Engadget's Chris Velazco.

Frederik Leifland developed the payment method while attending Lund University in Sweden as an engineering student, TechCrunch reports. His payment method is in use at 15 stores and cafes around the university and is used by roughly 1,600 students and faculty. Leifland said Quixter is also working with all major Swedish banks.

The palm print alone can complete the transaction. In a video demonstrating the new technology Leifland explained that the last four digits of the phone number are required mainly because consumers feel a need to do more than scan their hand. He explains that the user wants to look at the screen and interact.

While Quixter claims to be the first point-of-payment service of its kind using palm scanning techniques to verify payment, it is not the first use of palm scanning on the market. Last month Fujitsu said it would use palm-vein scanning on its smartphones and mobile devices as another layer of security. Other forms of biometrics developed for the market include fingerprint scanning and iris scanning.

One road block that has slowed adoption of electronic payments at the register, such as an electronic wallet, is that a consumer has to carry a payment device such as a smartphone or credit card with a chip.

"NFC for mobile payments has struggled with adoption. Not least because the user needs to have an NFC-enabled phone in order to be able to make these contactless payments – in addition to the retailer itself being set up to accept NFC payments," wrote TechCrunch's Natasha Lomas.

Quixter's palm scanner promises bold security with a bold claim. "Another mooted advantage is security — with Leifland making the bold claim that there is “no way” to commit fraud with this system. Short of, presumably, strong-arming someone else’s hand into buying your hot-cross bun for you," wrote Lomas.

While the user barrier is lowered - users don't have to buy a hand to activate this method of payment - there is a cost barrier for the retailer.

"As with NFC, palm-payment would require significant buy in from retailers to get any mass market momentum. Targeting small communities, such as university campuses, therefore makes sense as a rollout strategy. Albeit, it may be as far as such a system is able to roll in the short term," wrote Lomas. "Getting buy-in from all the players in the payments value chain has caused many a payment ‘revolution’ to wither on the vine. Or, as may be the case, the vein."