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PulseWallet Looks to Change the Way We Pay with Palm Reading Technology

January 8, 2014         By: David Mindich

Card solution company PulseWallet has just announced what may very well be the most novel payment method to date. Offering merchants a POS system with an infrared camera provided by Fujitsu, PulseWallet actually reads the veins in a person’s hand, confirming their identity, and allowing them to pay with any card they’ve linked to the service.

The first time a consumer swipes their card into a PulseWallet POS, they are prompted to place their hand on top of the system. After reading their palm twice and entering their phone number, the consumer’s card is linked to the system. And that’s it. Signing up takes about thirty seconds and from there on out, a consumer can pay any store with the POS system using just their hand.

A main feature behind the system is its security. According to Fujitsu, the palm reader has a false accuracy rate of 99.99992% (and a false rejections rate of an impressive .01%). On top of this, the system also requires that the user plug in his telephone number before a purchase is confirmed, virtually eliminating false positives altogether. While the added security of using a telephone number is great, having to type in a nine digit number to confirm your identity seems to go against the whole purpose of the device. People like double verification, but the decision not to use photo verification like Square seems like a strange choice for PulseWallet.

Outside of questionable secondary verification choices, PulseWallet will still have to deal with actually getting merchants to purchase the system, which has proven to be a difficult task for quite a few payment solution companies. With loyalty management considered to be a driving force behind replacing the plastic card, it will be interesting to see how PulseWallet handles loyalty and deals (five finger discounts?) without an interface.

Overall, PulseWallet is certainly a novel solution within the payment industry, but it may be a while before consumers leave their wallets behind.