Shoppers ditch wallets for hand scanners

04/22/2014 07:11

Groundbreaking ... shoppers can pay for their goods by scanning the palm of their hand at

FORGET carrying a wallet because all you could soon need is your hand to pay for goods.

Advanced technology is being rolled out in Sweden that allows empty-handed consumers to purchase goods using a tap of their palm.

Detection of a person’s unique vein structure allows the store to verify a person’s ability to pay.

Experts believe the alternative payment method would be handy for many people, particularly the absent-minded.

While vein scanning technology is not new, the ability to use it to pay is and it has been introduced in Lund in southern Sweden.

The Australian Payments and Clearing Association’s chief executive Chris Hamilton said these new-wave of technologies were constantly evolving despite not being used in Australia just yet.

“There’s been lots of speculation over the years on biometrics and using different aspects of your body,’’ he said.

Ditch the cash ... shoppers can use their smartphones as a virtual wallet.

Ditch the cash ... shoppers can use their smartphones as a virtual wallet. Source: News Limited
“The biometrics that you have that’s inherent to you is something that you can’t drop or lose such as your eyeball or your fingerprint.’’

To use unique vein scanning information a person visits a shop or restaurant with the technology and scans their hand three times before registering their personal details.

A text message is then sent to their mobile phone with an activation link to a website and payments are then taken from the customer’s bank account from then on.

But Hamilton said there are several challenges with rolling out vein-scanning technology in Australia.

“There’s a network effect, whichever (technology) you choose do you want to roll it out over the entire network payments system so every financial institution signs up to the same thing,’’ he said.

Into the future ... technology is changing the way consumers pay for goods.

Into the future ... technology is changing the way consumers pay for goods. Source: Supplied
“To be useful there’s need to be broad participation.

“The other problem is you wouldn’t roll out a biometrics solution unless you were certain it was secure.”

Strategic relations firm RFi’s director Alan Shields believed vein scanning would be a secure payment form but said it needs to be speedy.

“You’d have to cut someone’s hand off to be able to pay from their account,’’ he said.

“We have fast-time payment methods, so is it actually going to provide a consumer with something more.

“It’s interesting and cool but do we need it, we already have a lot of other payment mechanisms.’’


— Hand scanners: The palm of a hand is scanned over the payment terminal to pay for goods.

— Mobile phone: Scan your phone at the checkout to pay using a virtual wallet.

— Sleeve spending: Australian-made suit that has a wireless payment chip and antenna inserted to pay using a contactless payment terminal.

— Facial recognition: Pay by face using facial biometrics at the check-out.

— Fingerprint technology: Pay using your fingerprint on your smartphone or at the check-out. News


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