Biometric authentication systems to be used for tourist payments in Japan
Biometric authentication systems could be deployed across Japan in order to allow foreign tourists to verify their identity and make purchases using only their fingerprints, a recent news report in the local media has been able to reveal.
The pilot project comes as a result of efforts to prevent crime and reduce the need to carry cash or credit cards ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. The pilot project will have inbound tourists register their fingerprints and other data, such as credit card information, at airports. Tourists will then be able to conduct tax exemption procedures and make purchases after verifying their identities on fingerprint readers installed at stores.
The government also plans to replace the requirement that foreign tourists must show their passports when they check into ryokan inns or hotels with fingerprint authentication.
300 souvenir shops, restaurants, hotels and other establishments located in popular tourists spots will participate in the pilot project which, if successful, will gradually expand throughout the country by 2020.
After analysing tourists’ movements and their spending habits, the data is expected to be utilized to devise policies on tourism and management strategies for the tourism industry. However, there are concerns that tourists will be uneasy about providing personal information such as fingerprints.
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