At participating elementary schools across Singapore, students will soon be able to make purchases with the touch of a finger thanks to a new biometric program from POSB Bank.
The addition of biometrics will be a new feature added to the existing Smart Buddy program that enables students to make purchases at participating POS terminals. In 2018, POSB will implement a biometric aspect to the program that will see students pay for their meals with just their fingerprints. The new biometric initiative is the result of a partnership between POSB and biometric company, Touché. Fingerprint payments through Touché began in August, but the service won’t become widely available in schools until next year.
POSB has, however, successfully launched the wearable-driven version of the Smart Buddy program, which allows primary school students to purchase goods with an electronic wristwatch. With the Smart Buddy program, parents can keep track of their child’s purchases via the mobile device. In order to set up the watch, parents simply need to insert a chip, which is connected to their bank accounts, into a slot in the watch. To make purchases, students tap the screen of the watch against NETS contactless payment terminals. Students can also check their balance from the watch.
According to POSB, the Smart Buddy program teaches students better spending and saving habits. Besides tracking their child’s spending habits, parents can also make deposits, limit how much their child can spend daily, track their child’s spending history, and create savings goals for their child to meet. Students who receive subsidies from their school can still use their watch to purchase goods without needing to present vouchers.
From wearables to fingerprints
While the watch has been successful with schools, students, and parents, giving students the ability make purchases with the fingerprints eliminates worries in the event that a child loses their watch. With money linked to student fingerprints, there’s no hassle with deactivating a lost watch.
The message of the fingerprint program remains the same: students will still be learning how to spend and save their money, which is made more convenient for students by not having to worry about wallets, cash or cards.
With Touché, students register two of their fingerprints into the system, which are then connected to the Smart Buddy system. The fingerprints are also connected to parents’ bank accounts so parents can continue to monitor their child’s spending habits. To make a purchase, students simply place two fingers on a scanning window located on the back of the Touché device.
According to the Strait Times, Touché is working to make wallets a thing of the past, and has been working with the Singaporean government to spread the payment technology across the country. In addition to working with schools in Singapore, the company also plans to implement its service with various restaurants and businesses in the region.
Touché devices consist of a magnetic stripe reader, a chip reader and a biometric fingerprint sensor. Fingerprints are encrypted in a cloud system, and the company uses anti-spoofing technology to ensure that transactions take place in real-time, so students’ information is kept safe and secure.