Saturday, February 11, 2006

Potential Future of Online Purchases

Online purchases are often scary for a lot of internet users, both novice and experienced. As opposed to purchases made in a store, you don’t see who or what has access to your information, and what they will do with it.

This lack of knowledge combined with a high rate of credit card and identity theft online leaves a lot of potential customers nervous. The company Pay By Touch feels the pain of all of these people, and is planning a product that may make the world of online purchases a lot safer.

As you may have guessed from the name, Pay By Touch is a company that uses fingerscans as a major form of identity verification. The company is pushing a service called Pay By Touch Online, that uses the principles of Biometric hardware, in conjunction with a person’s data points on their finger, to verify if the correct person is making a purchase.

The company hopes that the hardware, in the form of scanners, will become the norm for purchases this year. They are planning to distribute millions of scanners, and are expecting consumers to accept this as the only way to make future online purchases. While it seems like a nice idea, will people really give up the incumbent idea, and spend money on additional hardware? This remains to be answered.

This is a very interesting idea, and perhaps contains enough potential, that it may realize the company’s desires. With fingerprint technology, fraud is infinitely more complicated, and harder to achieve. Spending money on hardware will obviously turn some people off, especially those who are fine with the current standard of credit cards.

Those who have been victims of credit card theft online (and the super paranoid), will view this as the potential successor of the current system. One thing is for sure: it’s going to be a real challenge to implement this system as the standard in the span of a single year. Credit cards might not be perfect, but are widely used. Fingerprint technology isn’t, and therefore will have a steep climb up the mountain. With that said, take a look at the "Overcoming the Barriers of Adoption" post I submitted last Tuesday, Feb 07.