Efficient payment methods through Apple, Samsung and Google may be meeting competition from Japan. Not just a brand, but the entire nation itself.
The Japanese government is set to test out its latest technology this summer that requires only two fingers scanned by a device during payment procedures. Field tests will involve 300 shops, hotels, restaurants and other establishments.
The participants were reportedly chosen from areas such as Yugawara in Kanagawa Prefecture, Kamakura, Atami in Shizuoka Prefecture and Hakone. The establishments weren't chosen at random but rather strategically, as these are in frequented tourist spots in the country.
The main reason the Japanese government is undertaking the experiment is to increase the number of tourists visiting the country by about 40 million in the year 2020, during which Tokyo's Olympic and Paralympic Games will be occurring. The promise of an efficient payment method will supposedly attract more tourists. That and the other features the tech carries along with it.
Aside from replacing cash, the fingerprint scanning method can also identify a person, eliminating the need to carry around a passport. A law in Japan for local inns and hotels requires tourists to present passports whenever they check in to Ryokan rental sites. Their fingerprints, however, can now carry their identity authentication.
Another feature of the tech also includes a one-time tax exemption process that will be filled out once the tourist arrives at Japan's airport, along with other requirements. Once that is done, any other tax exemption procedures will be gone as their fingerprints will carry the data, along with their bank account and identity.
These data will also be collected and monitored to pinpoint tourist spending patterns. Supposedly, these observations will help the Japanese government further improve the tourist experience by implementing laws and management programs backed up by the data. This will then attract more foreigners into their country.
It is important to note that registration for the program is optional for tourists. Reports have hinted that tourists may be wary of the risks involved in such an experiment and giving out something as private as their unique fingerprint is a reason for concern.
Of course, the government promises to observe discretion and label tourists anonymously as to not infringe on their privacy. Maximum security will also be exerted as well as utilizing the data to increase protection from identity theft.
Photo: Ishan Manjrekar | Flickr