25 September 2017 - Janet Bird
Costcutter is trialling a biometric payment system which allows customers to make payments using just their fingerprint.
A branch of the retailer at London's Brunel University is using a system devised by biometric identification and authentication service provider Sthaler.
The Fingopay system uses the unique vein pattern of an individual's fingerprint to confirm their identity and to pay for their goods.
An infrared light is used to map the vein pattern. Critically, it also checks for haemoglobin and a pulse - meaning that a person has to be alive when making a payment and that, in the extremely unlikely scenario of a criminal hacking off someone's finger, they would not be able to circumvent the system.
The technology is already being used by a number of Brunel University students, with around 3,000 out of 13,000 expected to sign up to use the system by November.
Sthaler claims the finger vein biometric system is the safest form of biometrics, with vein patterns encrypted and stored in a database as binary numbers and card details stored with Worldpay, just as they are now to enable online shopping.
While Costcutter is the first supermarket to trial the Fingopay system, it is unlikely to be the last - Sthaler has confirmed it is already in talks with other supermarket chains interested in the technology.