Will ‘fingerprint currency’ be the new wave in Japan travel industry?

Published on : Tuesday, January 17, 2017

japanJapan has always been a loved travel destination choice amongst leisure as well as business travellers. Now the country is ready for an experimental try-out by introducing a system which could replace both cash and credit cards. As the footfalls of tourists are promising an accelerating growth, the country is all eager to ease the payment options and dispense with the need for cards or cash.



A new wave?

While Samsung Pay, Apple Pay and Android Pay are steadily gathering steam, Japan is planning for its own ways. If things go as planned, credit and debit cards may go obsolete in Japan. With the new set of engineering, tourists visiting the country will need to scan their fingerprints, precisely place two fingers on a scanner, and can make any payment during the stay.


As per the present law, tourists are required to show their passports while checking into hotels. With this system in place, tourists’ fingerprints will be enough for authentication.


This move could potentially make payments much easier as the registration on arrival also ties into tourists’ tax exemption forms. It also might widen the scope of the system to about 300 businesses and is expected to be operational before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Japan wants to get the system up and running in order to attract 40 million tourists by then.


User data on spending, frequency location and more, the trial phase will be recorded which would be analysed by the government for further insight and improvement.


Tokyo’s Aeon Bank will be the first to test the system with Japanese customers. In this trial system, customers will be able to withdraw money from ATMs using their fingerprints for authenticating identity, bypassing the need for cards and PIN numbers.

The flipside

Some people think that fingerprinting gives away too much information about oneself. However, the authorities kind-of confirmed that the system is superior in the area of security, such which will prevent people from impersonating customers.


The experiment will educate people on how to protect one’s privacy against fraud using this method.


The officials are confident to anonymize the data they collect, but it’s hard not to be a bit nervous.  Things might reach an altogether different level if fingerprints are collected while entering the country and will be connected to your travel and shopping habits.


So the debate on the fact that fingerprinting to prove easier for tourists in the near future or will it cause identity theft is yet to go on!

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