What do notes, plastic, eyes, and fingerprints have in common? They are all ways to pay for goods and services. To the list can be added veins after a supermarket in London began trialling Fingopay, a biometric payment system which is based on identifying the unique vein pattern in fingertips. Grocery store chain Costcutter is using its store at Brunei University as a test base before deciding whether or not to roll out the system across its stores. Here’s how it works. During the registration process, the customer places a finger into an electronic reader which generates a unique key based on the layout of the user’s veins. The finger pattern is then linked to their credit or debit card which allows them to pay for goods without the need to carry around a wallet stuffed with cards or cash. The technology, which has been developed by Hitachi, is being rolled out by Sthaler. According to Sthaler’s chief executive, Nick Dryden, a university is the perfect place for a trial as, “Today’s millennial generation now expects a higher level of ease, security and efficiency from the way that we pay”. He might be on to something as Fingopay is already being used by Barclays Bank’s corporate customers and it also underwent a successful trial in a bar in Camden which saw 2,000 customers register for the service. Debate surrounds how secure the system is though. Security consultant Graham Cluley said: “There have been fingerprint biometric systems in the past that have been easily tricked. The problem with biometrics is that you can’t change it, so if someone gets hold of your information and reproduces it, what are you going to do? You can’t change your finger. I do wonder why there is such an urgent push to use this technology rather than the traditional methods of identifying yourself.” A Prof Alan Woodward from the University of Surrey however is a fan, “This is a good thing to do…With this system, blood needs to be flowing through the veins so you can prove it is a real, live person using it, which is much harder to spoof.” The professor would say that of course, as being a computer scientist, technology clearly runs through his veins.