Italian bank UniCredit has begun market tests of a new biometric payment system that uses infra-red sensors at the POS terminal to recognise the geometry of the veins in the palm of the user's hand.
The first touchless biometric payment was made in December by Federico Ghizzoni, CEO of UniCredit, at a Kiko Make Up Milano retail store.
Ghizzoni hovered his hand over a sensor, built into a new generation POS called Papillon, and in a few seconds the reader recognised his hand and the payment was complete.
The 'Papillon' payment system - which uses palm scanning technology from Fujitsu - was developed by the UniCredit Research & Development team. Fujitsu supplied the bank with a software development kit to independently adapt and create bespoke applications of the technology for use in the commercial arena.
The bank is already using the technology as an access conrol device at one of the revolving entrance doors of the UniCredit HQ in piazza Cordusio.
In the Kiko Make UP trial, the POS sensor captures the image created by haemoglobin in the blood when struck by an electromagnetic impulse and translates the information into a unique numeric code. The Papillon-connected POS device stores the code and and matches the pre-registered palm print to the user in all future transactions
"We innovate in order to compete and grow", states UniCredit's Ghizzoni. "This is why we've been working on a new way of banking, investing resources in development and advanced solutions that are capable of creating new products and services. The new R&D team started with new ideas, building prototypes based on the most advanced technology, in order to creatively provide added value to our customers, colleagues and network".
Ghizzoni says the Papillon sensor will be connected to a conventional POS terminal and may ultimately "replace ATM and credit cards entirely as a way of recognising individuals for payment purposes and the automatic debiting of current or credit card accounts".
He says the technology will be introduced gradually across UniCredit's network for mobile payments along with other applications such as the reading of QR-codes for smart phones.