Gov’t, FinTech Backing Could Help Fingerprint Payments Take Off In Japan

The Japanese startup developing the biometric payment technology to be used during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo is hoping to reach a much broader market.

Gov't, FinTech Backing Could Help Fingerprint Payments Take Off In JapanCalled Liquid Inc., the company is working on a system that would link a user’s payment account information directly to her fingerprint, thereby allowing her to confirm a purchase with the touch of a finger. As The Wall Street Journal reports, Liquid is being backed by domestic finance and technology organizations as well as the Japanese government, and it’s aiming to bring its technology beyond Japan’s borders, targeting retailers in the Philippines and Sri Lanka. The difficulty, of course, is to get the market to support the fingerprint databases that would allow a single payment to be authenticated to a particular user.

That isn’t going to happen without widespread and high-level support, and to that end Japan’s government should be a powerful backer. It’s hoping to be able to register tourists’ biometrics so that their shopping habits can be monitored, allowing the government and merchant organizations to better respond to market demand.

Of course, it’s anyone’s guess whether consumers will embrace the technology on a large enough scale to support it. But Liquid isn’t alone in betting that they will, with London-based startup Sthaler working on a similar system, and international giant Safran working with Visa to develop a biometric system that would let consumers pay with a wave of the hand. It’s a bold new subfield in FinTech, and given its strong institutional support, Liquid could quickly become its leading pioneer.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

August 8th, 2016 – by Alex Perala