Friday, February 10, 2006

Big Year Ahead for Pay by Touch

Pay By Touch Predicts Big Expansion for 2006

NEW YORK -- Retail technology firm Pay By Touch expects to see a dramatic expansion for 2006 in the number of stores offering its finger scanner-based system, which allows customers to use their finger to access an "electronic wallet" of direct debit and credit payment options at cash registers, reported

Almost 300 stores are in Pay By Touch’s network, but John Morris, chief operating officer, said he expected at least 6,000 stores to be using the company’s payments system by the end of 2006, according to the report. "In the first week of January we begin a pace of 60 to 100 a week, and we’ll be rolling very rapidly. By the end of [2006] we’ll have safely 6,000 and maybe a thousand more than that," Morris told

Over the past year, Pay By Touch has signed contracts to provide its payments system to units of Supervalu in Chicago and Minnesota, as well as to the Piggly Wiggly regional supermarket chain in North and South Carolina, according to the report.It is also involved in a pilot program with Albertson’s supermarkets in Portland and Chicago, and has a contract for a pilot scheme with an oil company operating 10 convenience stores in the Chicago area, reported.

John Rogers, founder and CEO, said 2005 had marked "an inflection point" for the company."The core technology is rock solid and proven and we’re deploying it to the United States and abroad," Rogers said in the report. "We’ve spent tens of millions of dollars on our technology platform to support the biggest retailers in the world, and now we’re expanding it.

"This month, Pay By Touch announced the acquisition for $82 million of BioPay, its principal U.S. rival, which operates a finger-authenticated check cashing system at 1,600 stores.It also expanded its payment processing system with the acquisition of CardSystems Solutions, a credit-card processor, and acquired Capture Resource, which manages loyalty programs for more than 12,000 supermarkets and stores. In November, the company raised $130 million from investors, including Ron Burkle, the veteran supermarket investor.

It is eventually expected to seek an initial public offering. "We believe it’s in the reasonably near future," Rogers said in the report. Rogers added in the report that the company was also expecting to focus next year on developing its loyalty offerings. These include a system that uses the information generated by a finger-based loyalty shopping account to tailor promotional offers.