Japan’s Fingerprint Payments Plan — For Tourists

Japan has big biometric payment plans for its tourists.

The Japanese government has announced a new pilot program that will allow tourists visiting the country to pay for their transactions with their fingerprints. The program, which will initially be rolled out in 300 locations, will let tourists register their fingerprints, credit and debit card information and personal details on kiosks set up at the airport.

Once past that step, tourists will be able to securely shop around the registered stores, which will be located in some of the most popular tourist pockets of the country, by just scanning two fingerprints. It will also eliminate the need for tourists to present their passports when checking into hotels — a necessity that is mandated by the the Inns and Hotels law, Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

A similar system was reportedly put in place last year by the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, that allowed tourists to make payments using fingerprints at 30 stores and restaurants.

“The system has been well-received by customers, including those with children, since it saves them the trouble of taking their wallets out,” a parks spokesperson said.

The launch of the program comes as the country, which saw 19.74 million visitors last year, gears up for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Japanese government plans on rolling out the program across the country by the spring of 2017, as part of its goal to attract 40 million visitors annually by 2020.

The Japan National Tourism Organization also has plans to harvest the Big Data that comes out of its program to evaluate spending activity and tourists’ movement across prefectures to devise better tourism policies and management strategies.


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