Japan testing New Payment System to let Tourists use their Fingerprints instead of Currency
A new payment system is being tested by the Japanese government that will let foreign tourists authenticate their identities and avail shopping and hospitality services anywhere in Japan through their fingerprints. The idea is to make shopping and attainment of services by visitors in Japan completely safe and fool-proof before the occurrence of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The testing phase will involve using fingerprint scanners at around 300 popular retailers, souvenir shops, hotels, restaurants and establishments in key tourist centers. These included sites in Hakone, Kamakura, Yugawara in Kanagawa Prefecture, and Atami in Shizuoka Prefecture but the government aims to expand the experimenting jurisdiction to Tohoku and Nagoya districts by next spring. By 2020, this system is likely to be introduced in Tokyo as well as everywhere else.
The government plans to gradually expand the experiment by next spring, to cover areas including tourist sites in the Tohoku region and urban districts in Nagoya.
It is important to note that visitors would still need to show their passports to check in at any hotel but they can make purchases through fingerprints while staying in Japan, according to Japan News.
A similar system was introduced in October 2015 by Huis ten Bosch theme park situated in Nagasaki and it was a successful venture. The company’s spokesperson stated:
“The system has been well received by customers, including those with children since it saves them the trouble of taking their wallets out.”
It is also being reported that Japan will soon be testing such a system for its citizens, which will let them withdraw money from ATM machines in a much secure manner. This new system is aimed at reducing the occurrences of fake transactions using stolen cards.
The government has envisioned this kind of a system in order to make sure that maximum tourists arrive in the country to attend the games in 2020. In fact, the government believes that if such a system is implemented throughout the country then it was possible to increase the annual number of tourists to 40 million by 2020.
As far as the issue of how and where the system will be used by the tourists, the government has stated that the data will be managed by a particular consultative body that will be led by the government. The data will be converted into anonymous big data as well. The data will be utilized to create tourism-related policies and management strategies after evaluating the movements and spending habits of the tourists. In this way, the entire tourism industry in Japan will receive a boost.
However, critics are concerned about the reaction of tourists when they will be asked to share personal information like fingerprints with the authorities, hotels, and retailers, etc.