Fingerprints to replace currency for tourists visiting Japan

Published on : Tuesday, April 12, 2016

fingerprintJapan will soon introduce a hassle free way of changing money with the launch of a new system that will replace currency notes with finger prints.



The government is planning to launch the system this summer when tourism is at its hilt to make shopping and hotel check-ins more convenient for overseas travellers and helping them to travel cashless and card less.



Foreign visitors will need to register their details which would include fingerprints, credit card information in airports or other public verification locations. One you are a registered tourist you can buy products with taxes automatically deducted from select stores by just placing your finger on a small fingerprint reading device.




The fingerprint system will also be used as a speedy substitute for presenting passports when checking into hotels, which is currently a legal obligation for overseas tourists, according to reports.



In its first test phase, the project will involve 300 souvenir shops, restaurants, hotels and other establishments frequented by tourists in popular destinations including the mountainous hot spring resort area Hakone and the coastal town Kamakura.


The fingerprint experiment is part of a wider effort by the Japanese government to encourage visitors from overseas to visit the capital in the run up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.



Officials are hoping to launch the system throughout the country – including Tokyo – by 2020, with as many as 40 million overseas annual visitors expected by that year.


The new system will also enable the government to analyse the spending habits and patterns of foreign tourists, with anonymous data to be managed by a government-led consultative body.



The data obtained from the project will be used to help government officials create effective tourism management policies.


One concern among officials, however, is that some tourists may be reluctant to provide fingerprint information voluntarily due to fears relating to privacy issues.



Fingerprint payment will be perfectly safe as it will be using Biometrics, using the body as an alternative password. MasterCard had announced in February that it would accept selfies and fingerprints instead of account passwords in the UK.



The usage of fingerprints is growing as several mobile wallets too accept this alternative to authenticate payment. Once you register your credit card to an Apple Pay compatible iPhone you are allowed to make payments or transactions by just pressing a thumb or a finger touch to the Touch ID fingerprint scanner in the home button to verify your identity. The facility is also available in Samsung Pay and Android Pay.


In the case of mobile payments, the smartphone maker, such as Apple, does not store your card numbers on the device you’re using for Apple Pay, nor on their servers. Instead, when a card is added, a unique Device Account Number is created and encrypted. This number is stored in a chip within your device called the secure Element.


When you go to make a transaction, the Device Account Number is matched with a dynamic security code unique to that specific payment, which is then processed. If your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch is lost or stolen, you can suspend Apple Pay remotely or wipe it fully using Find My iPhone.



However there are chances of spoofing this option as scientists have shown how a Samsung Galaxy S6 and a Huawei Honor 7 phone was hacked as photos of someone’s finger was taken and printed out with special ink. The limitation of this system is that you only have 10 finger prints that can never be changed. On the other hand reproducing a fingerprint is much too difficult than guessing a password so to keep maximum security, instrumentation of both may be a better idea.


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