Could your finger be the latest way to approve a payment?

prelin —  April 2, 2013 — Leave a comment

We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about the various types of mobile payment systems but what if you could approve a transaction without plastic or your mobile phone and skip straight to using your finger as the enabler. A new startup, PayTango, is trying just that.


PayTango, a startup founded by four students at Carnegie Mellon University, has developed a special scanner that prompts consumers to record their fingerprint and swipe a credit card, debit card or loyalty card to be associated with it in the system. The scanner is designed to be quick and easy to use and to integrate right into the retailer’s existing payment processing systems.

“What we can do is take biometric data and transmit it as card data,” Brian Groudan, co-founder of PayTango, told Mashable. “The computer looks at it the same way.”

Groudan says he and his co-founders were initially interested in trying to help consumers “consolidate all of your cards into one card,” but then they heard about a group of researchers at their university who used gesture-recognition technology to create doorknobs and other objects that recognize how they’re being touched. This changed the team’s thinking. “Our idea eventually evolved to ‘why do you even need a card?'”

PayTango certainly isn’t the first company to try using biometric data for payments. Several retailers and credit card companies have tested fingerprint payments in select markets over the years, including Discover and Mastercard.

We’re intrigued to see where this can go in the future. Theoretically this is highly secure as everyone has a different fingerprint and retailers aren’t exactly going to be helping customers that happen to have detached fingers with them. Theoretically this is a better system than a mobile payment as you always have your finger with you and the fact that this integrates into current payment systems could make it a winner.


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