School kids buy lunch with swipe of the hand PDFPrintE-mail
Written by Chris Perver  
Sunday, 07 January 2007 17:00
These links from my friend Adam...

Martin County School District in Florida has adopted a scheme whereby school children are able to pay for school dinners by placing their finger on a scanner. The new biometric programme replaces the previous identity card scheme, and aims to address the caveat of students losing their credentials. Paying for lunches without having to carry cash is just one of the many benefits. The Martin Country School District is also considering designing a facility to enable parents to keep track of their children from a website linked to the school's biometric computer.

Quote: ""It's cool," said sixth-grader Sarah Eaves, 12, who estimates she has lost her student identification card at least seven times. "It should be better because you always have your fingers with you." To cut down on credit card fraud and identity theft, grocery stores and banks throughout the nation are using similar systems. School officials hope the addition of the biometrics technology not only will save students time and the district money, but lower theft, fraud and bullying. "It practically eliminates bullying," said Rae Hollenbeck, Martin County School District food services director. "They have their fingers so nobody can steal their lunch money. They put their finger down, and they get their lunch."

In other news, the Bank of America is considering issuing customers with RFID-enabled contactless payment devices. The bank is running a consumer trial at present, and if successful, the key fob cards will be issued to customers along with their credit cards. 

Quote: "The Bank of America user acceptance trial programme will distribute the fobs as companion devices to its traditional credit cards. VersaFOB is a contactless payment sub-card that snaps out of a full-size payment card and is inserted in a key-chain casing.

The fobs were certified by MasterCard as an approved PayPass payment device last year.

Quote: "Consumers are already embracing contactless payments with statistics showing that fobs have quickly become one of the top options for shoppers. Merchants also cut their checkout time since cardholders don’t have to pull the card out of their wallets. “Having the payment device on a keychain is the ultimate in speed and convenience for consumers and merchants,” Tartavull said.

Of course the question that must be asked is, "Speed and convenience at what cost?". How much do consumers really benefit from saving a few extra minutes at the checkout? Not that much. But big companies do benefit and can save thousands of pounds in processing hours, staff wages, and of course sell more goods faster. But how long before someone decides that having your bank details stored on a key fob is not secure enough? How many people have to forget their pin number or lose their key fob, before someone decides the only way of securing RFID payments is to have a permanent "pin number" implanted on their bodies?

Source TCPalm, UsingRFID, OberthurCS