According to a study by an analyst at financial firm Sanford Bernstein, both Wal-Mart and Costco are "looking ... closely" at biometric checkout systems, which would allow consumers to pay via finger-scan (neither company would comment on the report). To use the system, customers would register at an in-store kiosk, where they would provide credit-card information that would be attached to a fingerprint. At checkout, the customer would place their finger on a scanner, and the appropriate credit info would be pulled up. According to the study, biometric checkouts -- which are already in use in branches of some supermarket chains, including Albertson's and Piggly Wiggly -- could save Wal-Mart as much as 20% in processing costs. Of course, privacy advocates are likely to balk at providing major retailers with fingerprints, but we sort of assume that, as big as it is, Wal-Mart's already got the ability to collect any data that they want, and withholding our prints isn't going to change that.

[Via TechDirt]

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Report: Wal-Mart, Costco considering biometric payment systems