If petrol stations are to be the most important battleground between banks and fraudsters, then we should take an interest in the latest extension of the PayByTouch fingerprint-based payment scheme. There are now some Shell stations in Chicago that use it. If American fraudsters try and follow the example of their inventive British cousins, and install their own bent POS terminals, there’s no PINs for them to capture. Only fingerprints. Perhaps that not too much of a risk because PayByTouch doesn’t work at ATMs, and what’s a fraudster going to do with your fingerprint anyway…
The scheme is already in use in Chicago. At Sunflower Market, a grocery store that has Pay By Touch installed, 1 in every 50 customers has signed up. The store manager, Debbie Britton, says
I think it scares people… They’re more confused about the whole system. Some of them say, ‘Well, now the FBI can find me.’
She may be reflecting a peculiarly American delusion, but I’m not so sure. There is a specific issue around fingerprint biometrics: people mentally associated fingerprints with criminality and assume that fingerprints are an effective form of identification. Incidentally, getting someone’s identical twin to buy groceries and have them billed to the wrong card won’t work, because identical twins have different fingerprints.
These opinions are my own (I think) and are presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]