The future of finger vein payments

The future of finger vein payments

Innovations in payment technologies are booming.


Thu, 05 Oct 2017


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The electronic card payment in 1986; Chip and Pin in 2003; contactless payment in 2007; wearable devices in 2012; smartphone pay in 2016 and the latest innovation of finger vein payments in 2017. 

The innovation of ‘Fingopay’ is the world’s first payment by finger vein biometric technology being tested in UK supermarkets. Fingerprints were found to be vulnerable to being hacked as they can be easily copied from finger smears left on phone screens. Compared to fingerprints, finger veins cannot be stolen or copied and provide the most secure way of recognition today. 


The British start-up company Sthaler invented the Fingopay technology in 2015 and has successfully completed trials with Visa and Worldpay. Currently, the finger vein payment is being tested at the Crosscutter supermarket at Brunel University in London. Sthaler expects 3000 students out of 13000 to be signing up for Fingopay until November. 

The Fingopay scanner uses infrared light to create a map of the vein pattern including the pulse and haemoglobin value. Vein vessels are almost unique with a chance of two people having the same vessel structure around 3.4 billion-to-1, whereas fingerprints have a better of matching with someone else’s finger. Using finger veins require the person to be alive because of the pulse and haemoglobin check. Cutting off someone’s finger to steal their money won’t work for criminals. 

Advantages other than the security of using finger veins as payments include time-efficiency, as it only takes a couple of seconds to pay, and the ease of payment for customers, as there is no need to carry cash or cards nor do they have to remember pin numbers. Fingopay technology even works with wet, dirty or damaged fingers as the scanner sees inside your skin.

According to the Director of Technology Innovation at Worldpay UK, Nick Telford-Reed, 69% of consumers are willing to use the finger as a method of authentication. After registering for this payment, the finger vein links the biometric map to your bank account.  The data is encrypted as binary numbers, which makes the system extremely safe. Customers bank details are stored at payment provider Worldpay in the same way it is stored when purchasing online. 

Growth opportunities

Biometric recognition has great potential to be the payment technology of the future. Fingerprint payments are already widely used in Poland, Turkey and Japan. Testing the new innovation of finger vein payments in the UK, the world’s first trial on Fingopay, is a ground-breaking step forward in the retail and financial technology industry. Having this first-mover advantage in the UK could contribute to an efficient way of payment worldwide.

If the Fingopay technology gains acceptance by consumers, it has potential to be adopted by the major retailers as well as other sectors, such as restaurants, hotels, nightclubs or gyms. In future, face or eye recognition will also be a possibility of making transactions, the consequence being that coins, notes and bank cards as well as cashiers in supermarkets won’t be needed anymore.

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