Costcutter becomes first United Kingdom retailer to introduce finger vein payments

This week a Costcutter store, at Brunel University in London, made the headlines when it emerged that the outlet was letting customers pay using their unique finger vein pattern to identify themselves.

An electronic reader maps the user's finger veins, generating a unique key. With many users getting accustomed to authorizing transactions using their fingerprints on mobile payment platforms like Samsung Pay and Apple Pay, this naked payments system may represent the next logical step forward in convenience.

The technology has been developed by electronics giant Hitachi, with biometric payments company Sthaler licensed to roll it out in the retail sector.

Apparently hundreds of students and staff at the university have been using the finger payment system, with Brunel's James Budkiewicz saying: "The real benefit is not having to queue at the ATM and not worry about losing cash or cards anymore". They don't need to remember a pin number.

Nick Dryden, chief executive of Sthaler, said the system would appeal to young people.

James Budkiewicz, Assistant Director of the Commercial Directorate at Brunel University London commented: "We are delighted to explore some of the most innovative technology available to us that the United Kingdom has to offer".

As the BBC reports, FingoPay has also been trialed in a bar in Camden, where it saw 2,000 customers sign up.

"When you put your finger in the scanner it checks you are alive, it checks for a pulse, it checks for haemoglobin".

The firm behind the technology, Sthaler, has said it is in "serious talks" with other major United Kingdom supermarkets to adopt hi-tech finger vein scanners at pay points across thousands of stores.

Prof Alan Woodward, a computer scientist from the University of Surrey, said a system that relied on vein patterns was more secure than previous biometrics. People can use the fingerprint scanners on their phones but these can be...

Vanessa Coleman