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This article was published on April 8, 2016

Japan to begin testing fingerprints as currency

Japan to begin testing fingerprints as currency
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

This summer, the Japanese government is set to begin testing a system that would allow foreign tourists to verify their identities and purchase goods and services using nothing more than a fingerprint.

Ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, Japan sought to prevent crime and relieve traveller stress by omitting the need to carry cash or credit cards. The experiment would allow the government to fully evaluate the system before making any sweeping changes before the game.

The experiment would feature fingerprint scanners at at popular retailers in tourist centers — a total of 300 souvenir shops, restaurants, hotels and other establishments . Under current government regulations, however, a passport would still be required to check in at a hotel — although the law would still allow for purchases via fingerprint during your stay.

In October last year, the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Nagasaki introduced a similar system and reported that it worked well. According to a company spokesperson:

“The system has been well received by customers, including those with children, since it saves them the trouble of taking their wallets out.”

Japan will also be testing a system for its own citizens that will allow them to withdraw money from ATM machines — a bid to increase security and reduce instances of fraudulent transactions with stolen cards.

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