Consumer Payment Card News

Biometrics Ok?

Are you comfortable giving your fingerprints to a merchant to process a credit or debit card transaction? A new study says 85% of Americans now find it acceptable for merchants to use a biometric scan to verify the identity of someone making a credit card purchase, and 78% say a biometric scan is also okay for withdrawing funds from an ATM. A biometric scan could be a fingerprint, a hand print, an eye or retina scan, a facial picture, or even your voice. The surprise findings come from a recently released two-wave survey commissioned by SEARCH, funded by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, and developed by Dr. Alan Westin, President & Publisher of Privacy & American Business. However, anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that many Americans may consider certain biometrics offensive. One business executive, recently vacationing in Reno, Nevada, was flabbergasted when he was asked by a local casino to provide a imprint of his index figure on the paperwork for a $2000 cash advance from his VISA Check Card, in addition to his driver’s license. The executive was a rated, “Gold Plus” player, at the casino for more than ten years. He indicated he felt totally humiliated at the experience, and has since terminated his long-term relationship with the casino. The casino, the Eldorado, like most casinos in the USA, uses the services of Global Cash Access, a First Data company, to provide cash from credit and debit cards to customers. GCA will not confirm if the fingerprint practice is required or widespread among the gaming industry. While most consumers may say they find it acceptable to use biometrics for credit and debit card transactions, the reality is that consumer experience with biometrics is generally low in the USA.

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