Tech

Vein scanners could soon replace contactless cards

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David Cornish
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Forget your PIN. Ditch your contactless cards. The payment method of the future is going to look under your skin, identifying you by the pattern of your veins. 

This sci-fi concept is FingoPay (winner of ShortList's best product name of 2016), a biometric scanning system currently being developed by British start-up Sthaler (winner of ShortList's most unpronounceable company name of 2016). 

"The FingoPay reader builds a 3D map of veins within a finger, creating a natural personal key," explains the company's website. "Each finger is unique to us, the chance that two people have the same vein structure is 3.4billion-to-1. It has better recognition than iris and much more socially active." That makes it more secure than a four-digit PIN and an iris scanner. 

The system works by associating your vein structure with your bank account: rather than paying for items in a shop with a contactless card, you'd be able to tap your finger to a Fi-D reader and pay in a process that would take under five seconds. No cards, no key pads, just a zap of intense light on your finger to read your vein structure. 

Sthaler's founder Nick Dryden told The Telegraph that the FingoPay system will undergo a trial in September at Proud, a nightclub in Camden, London, where it's hoped the system will speed up the process of paying for drinks. 

The technology has already been used in small-scale tests, such as 2012's Festival No. 6 in Portmeirion, North Wales. McDonald's and Co-Op are also experimenting with uses of the tech, while some 80,000 of Japan's ATMs already use a similar vein-scanning technology.

Now we just have to sit back and wait for the first creepy stories of robbers snipping off fingers to access bank accounts...

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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