“…a student could walk into a cafeteria, choose a lunch meal, and pay by tapping a Touché screen, with no need for connected devices or payment cards.”
Starting next year, students at schools in Singapore will be able to buy lunch and other goods using just their fingerprints, thanks to a biometric payments system announced by the Minister for Education.
The new payments system comes by way of Singapore’s oldest bank, POSB, whose Smart Buddy programme has already been introduced to the country’s schools as part of Singapore’s government-led Smart Nation program. Right now, POSB Smart Buddy lets students pay school fees and perform other functions through a special smart watch, but the forthcoming Touché program will link their accounts to fingerprint-scanning devices that can accept fingerprint scans to verify payments. That means a student could walk into a cafeteria, choose a lunch meal, and pay by tapping a Touché screen, with no need for connected devices or payment cards.
The Touché devices will reportedly use FBI-certified fingerprint sensor technology, and will not store students’ fingerprint data, which will instead be encrypted and stored on an external server. Participation in the program will be voluntary.
Such technology has already seen sporadic deployments in schools in the US, with administrators finding benefits in the efficiency of tracking student meals with biometrics. In Singapore, the Touché system is expected to offer the additional benefit of letting parents more effectively track their kids’ spending habits at school.