Touche Makes Mobile Payments So Mobile, You Don’t Need a Device
Anyone else remember “Back to the Future 2”? Where Marty’s in Hill Valley 2015 and someone comes up to him with this fingerprint scanner and asks him to “thumb a hundred bucks for the clock tower”?
While not all of the movie’s predictions came to pass—and websites all over the Web kept track on that point with almost relentless fervor—this is one that’s closer than ever, at least, if Touche has its way.
Touche recently raised $2 million in a bid to bring its system from Singapore to the rest of the world, and plans a formal launch this year, which will essentially allow users to connect a fingerprint to a credit card. Any Touche device, therefore, will be able to accept payment via the fingerprint.
Right now, however, the devices are only found in a few places, and it’s unclear just what the adoption rate will be. It’s also unclear just how many people will regard this as a welcome change and how many will consider it the first step to a dystopian nightmare future where we’ve all got chips in us to be allowed to buy anything.
With growing numbers of users in Europe interested in biometrics as a payments technology—a Visa study from 2015 revealed that two out of three consumers were interested—the time might well be right for such things.
Indeed, biometrics can make an excellent security measure. Let’s face it; when your fingerprint is the means to unlock a system, actually getting a fingerprint by anything short of spy movie measures is incredibly tough to do.
There’s a difference, however, between making the fingerprint the key to the front door and making the fingerprint the entire house, so to speak. That might be a leap too far for many, especially those who adhere to the “mark of the Beast” concept.
There’s a place for biometrics, and we need to be careful about how we approach it. It’s powerful, and like any other powerful tool, it can be misused and outright abused. We have a great chance to advance the field here; let’s not get ahead of ourselves and push it so far the snapback ignores everything we’ve done so far.