Car Wash - Spring 2014 - (Page 62)
Getting to the Point of
THE PAYMENT OF THE FUTURE IS IN YOUR FINGERPRINT
BY SANDY SMITH
THE RAPID CITY EXPERIMENT
WHILE MOST PEOPLE pay for coffee by pulling out the
wallet, swiping a card and entering a few numbers, that's not
how it's done in Rapid City, S.D.
At a local coffee shop and on the campus of the South Dakota
School of Mines and Technology, a caffeine fix is just a finger
swipe away. Biometric payments - using fingerprints, voice or
facial recognition technology to verify identity - are still in the
earliest phases. But if Alan Maas, president of Nexus Smart Pay,
has anything to do with it, cash will be out in Rapid City - and
eventually the world.
"We believe this could turn out to be the only way that you pay
for stuff," Maas said. "It offers the most secure form of one-to-one
authentication out there."
Maas and his company are at the forefront of a movement
that has seen its stops and start through the years. Some may
remember Pay by Touch, a company that came onto the scene
in 2007, signed up a slew of participants (including car washes)
to allow biometric payments, and then crashed spectacularly.
But biometric payments are making another attempt, pushed by
Apple's inclusion of a fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5, though
currently it only unlocks the phone and allows purchase at Apple
and iTunes stores. And the continual hacking of large retailers'
computer systems - where credit card data, personal identification numbers (PINs) and passwords are contained - is driving
the need for a more secure way of verifying identity.
"It's going to be everywhere," said Matthew Silverstone, CEO of
the London-based facial and voice recognition software Facebanx.
"Passwords are a 40-year old technology. Every single person's
online password has been hacked. It may not have been exploited
yet, but someone has the details."
Granted, online payments may be what propel biometrics
initially. But it could just as easily become the latest version of a
debit card or near-field communication (NFC) payment system.
While each system works differently - a complicating factor that has slowed the adoption of biometrics to date - the
general principle is that some form of disbursement is tied into
a biometric identifier. Then, when a person proves their identity
biometrically, money is deducted from the banking account to
pay for the purchase. In Rapid City, those who wish to participate
visit a local bank to set up the identification - though they may
use any method of payment, including accounts at other banks.
"It's one physical face-to-face encounter, and after that, all
you need is your finger," Maas said. In addition to the coffee
shop and locations on the college campus, the payment system
is currently accepted at a local hookah bar, something akin to a
smoking lounge. Last summer, it was accepted as a payment for
concessions at the weekly music festival there. That latter use
provides another potential benefit: The biometric payment system
also could have provided proof of legal drinking age if desired.
While Nexus Smart Pay currently is used in retail settings,
a USB device can tie into a computer for online verification.
Maas says Nexus is talking to a college about using it to verify
attendance in online learning courses.
A FEW STEPS AHEAD
Around the world, biometrics is being used in creative ways. In
India, it's used in government welfare benefits programs, which
had been rife with corruption prior to the new verification. In
Europe, Silverstone said, facial recognition is used as a biometric
passport allowing those who input their faces into a database to
breeze through security checkpoints.
The most promising application is in fraud prevention online
and in mobile payments, he believes.
"If you ask financial institutions what the biggest problem is
with mobile and Internet payments, it is, 'How do you actually
Continued on page 65
CAR WASH MAGAZINE
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Car Wash - Spring 2014
Letter From the ICA
Meet the Board
By the Numbers
Look Out! Self-Driving Cars Heading Your Way
On the Road, but Still Online
Finding Your Way Through the Mobile Landscape
Take a Tour
Stay Ahead of the Curve
Car Wash Industry Celebrates Centennial Milestone
ICA 2013 Annual Report
Getting to the Point of Biometrics
Fighting for Innovation
Take It From Tech: Entrepreneurial Lessons Courtesy of Google
You Don’t Have to Fail
The Innovator’s DNA
Emerging Russian Car Wash Industry Faces Challenges
Rise to the Top
Does a Company Really Need to Innovate?
Watersavers Program Reaches Out During Drought
Blast From the Past
Index of Advertisers
Focus on the Member
Car Wash - Spring 2014