Monday, February 27, 2006

Boston Globe Article

Touch here for a secure payment
By Mark Baard February 27, 2006

I'm all for getting out of the drug store more quickly, even if it means trying some newfangled payment system. But I also worry that crooks will try to scan my RFID-chipped bank card, or lift my fingerprint off a bar glass and apply its latex double to a biometric reader device.

The folks at the fingerprint payment service Pay By Touch think I may have read too many Philip K. Dick novels, and they may be right. More than 2.3 million US consumers are already using Pay By Touch at 2,000 stores, according to Pay By Touch.

The Pay By Touch ( system captures 40 ''data points" from a scan of your fingerprint and stores the data in a centralized database, at secure IBM data centers, along with your bank and credit account information. Then, you can make payments at retail outlets equipped with Pay By Touch scanners.

Now the same service is coming to PCs and the Internet: Pay By Touch Online promises to make online browsing and shopping more secure by making that scan of your finger a hurdle for identity thieves to overcome.

Think about it: The internet is teeming with bits of malicious code and imposter websites constantly trying to seize your usernames and passwords, and other personal information. But fingerprint readers are being incorporated into many new laptops and cellphones, and that will make the Internet more secure for consumers, said Pay By Touch cofounder and executive vice president Jon Siegal. ''Pay By Touch Online turns this untrusted device, the PC, into a trusted device," Siegal said.

As early as this spring, you will be able to use Pay By Touch Online to log on to secure websites without entering a username and password, if you have a compatible fingerprint reader device on or attached to your PC. You will also be able to make payments by touching the reader device and keying in a password.

Pay By Touch

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Scottsdale, Arizona, United States