January 7, 2014 – by Peter B. Counter
Biometric payment protection and digital wallets are terms usually associated with smartcards that aggregate the contents of a pocketbook or smartphone apps that will let you physically pay for in store goods. Generally belonging under the umbrella term of “mCommerce,” these new forms of mobile payment are highly anticipated, especially by those involved in the push for strong authentication financial transaction methods.
Today at CES 2014 in Las Vegas a different kind of biometric payment protection is on display. It’s called the PulseWallet and it’s a biometrically secured payment method that allows users to forget about their wallets all together. On display at booth 73313 in the Eureka Park section, level 1 of The Venetian today through Friday, the biometric POS solution features Fujitsu’s much lauded PalmSecure vein imaging technology.
PulseWallet requires first time users to enroll their vein biometrics in a registration process, after which the system will allow for real-life payment by an encrypted scan of the palm. Allowing for the storage of coupons and receipts in addition to payment, the PulseWallet gives customers exclusive access to their digital wallet at the point of sale (POS) terminal.
Some of the benefits that PulseWallet brings to the table in the race to capture the attention of shoppers and retailers looking for new and more secure ways to transact go beyond convenience. One of the main selling points that the company has pushed since the solution’s announcement in late 2013 is how eco-friendly the system is. Since the transactions are performed exclusively at the terminal, and because the PulseWallet stores receipts and coupons digitally, the sales closed at the biometric POS are paperless. Additionally, since the identification carried by the consumer is literally part of her body, there is no need for the creation of a hardware token, smartcard or otherwise.
This last part will be a boon for PulseWallet as it enters the highly competitive area of alternate payment methods. There is no chance that a shopper will have forgotten her card or the right amount of chash, since the method is literally in the palm of her hand. Whereas card-based digital wallets like the soon-to-come COIN require replacement once its battery dies, the PulseWallet requires virtually no upkeep on the consumer side of the equation.
This said, the main obstacle that faces the palm vein payment option will be getting retailers to put their money down on the investment and encourage the public to give the system a try. Where other digital wallet solutions put the owness on the buyer to invest in alternate payment method, the PalmSecure powered PulseWallet lays the pressure on the relying parties to purchase and set up the terminals
It will be interesting to see, now that PulseWallet is being showcased, how it stacks up to its less environmental, less convenient, but seemingly more accessible competition. In any case, the innovation on display at CES is encouraging for those of us tired of the anxiety that comes with the inadequate payment protection that we’ve become used to expecting up until now.