While politicians in Washington, DC dream up new ways to collect our fingerprints and our tax payments, free-market participants in Washington state are putting into practice a new method that makes it easy for shoppers to use their fingerprints to pay for purchases.
Thriftway, a grocery chain which bills itself as "Washington's Food Store", is seeing greater acceptance of a payment system developed by Pay By Touch, and first deployed in its Seattle location during 2002. Each shopper at their stores is now able to use nothing more than their fingerprint to verify their identity and pay for their purchase using a credit card previously registered with the store.
The system is proving to be quite popular with Thriftway's patrons, who are increasingly using and even demanding the new payment approach — likely because it is fast and convenient, as well as being a technological novelty. In fact, one customer even drove 400 miles simply to use the new technology.
The President of the firm, Paul Kapioski, noted that they are gaining more customers who are interested in trying out the system, as well as winning the trust of senior citizens, who appreciate the additional security of not having to carry money to the stores.
Yet customers are not the only ones to benefit. Thriftway has not experienced a single fraudulent transaction during the 2 1/2 years that the new payment system has been in use. As a result, fraudulent purchases overall have declined significantly, because payments using the Pay By Touch system now account for 30 percent of all the firm's electronic transactions.