Is security in the palm of our hands?

by. Henry Meier

Yesterday, the Today Show, which every morning fools millions of sleep-deprived Americans that they are being informed, aired a report on how a Swedish college student is marketing technology that allows people to make purchases using the palm of their hand. When making purchases at 15 stores in and around the student’s campus, customers don’t have to pull out plastic. Instead they simply type in four digits of their phone number and place a palm on the register to complete the transaction. The veins in the palm are apparently all unique-Who knew?- and this information authenticates the purchase.

Have we found the Holy Grail of consumer transactions that enables customers to quickly complete fraud-free purchases without the fear of forgetting their PIN or having to scribble on those lousy electronic signature lines? Don’t hold your breath, but the emergence of the technology is both noteworthy and instructive.

  • In the aftermath of the Target data breach there are calls for merchants to finally make the transition to EMV technology and there should be. This technology, which has been widely used in many other countries for years now, replaces the magnetic strip on the back of cards with computer chips. Whereas the information on strips is static, information on computer chips can be changed making it more difficult for hackers to break into payment systems.
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