Citibank Singapore intros biometric payments, impulse shoppers rejoice

Although biometric payment systems are still pretty rare -- good news for friends and relatives of folks who can't seem to stop buying those "As Seen on TV" items in the checkout aisle -- recent trials at stores like Albertsons and Cub Foods and even the school lunch line would seem to indicate that more pervasive rollouts are just around the corner. The latest -- and arguably biggest -- player to enter the biopayment game is none other than Citibank Singapore, which has been quietly distributing fingerprint readers to area businesses for the past month. Right now only Clear Platinum card holders have the option of going biometric, and since this group includes heavy representation from the tech-savvy 25 to 34-year-old demographic, it seems that Citibank is taking the right approach to ensure widespread adoption. For now it sounds like the systems are still few and far between -- with coffee houses and and a popular nightclub being the most visible participants -- but Citibank VP Anand Cavale predicts that deployment will quickly expand as more customers put their prints on file at local branches. Oh, and for those of you worried about finger-snatching becoming the hot 21st Century crime, you'll be pleased to learn that a seven-digit PIN is also necessary to complete transactions of this variety -- so even if someone saws off one of your digits to purchase a mocha latte, the time-consuming torture required to force that secret code out of you will probably prove to be too much of a hassle for today's mugger on-the-go.