Researchers at the University of Delaware report that a growing number of consumers are willing to use fingerprints to pay in restaurant service settings and biometrics could become the payment mechanism of choice within a decade. Biometrics uses unique physical or behavioral characteristics such as fingerprints or irises to verify identity.
Of late, the applicability of these technologies is expanding beyond security domains into the world of commerce in areas such as service augmentation and customization, according to Shelly-Ann Lumsden, a master's candidate in information management in UD's Department of Hospitality, Restaurant and Institutional Management, and Srikanth Beldona, assistant professor of hospitality marketing.
The use of fingerprint technology requires the user to first enroll in a company's biometric computer system by scanning their fingerprint on a device that captures the image, stores it in a central database or computer, and uses it to identify and verify the user upon subsequent purchases.
To evaluate the applicability of fingerprint technology in the restaurant industry, the UD researchers conducted a study that examined user acceptance of fingerprint technology as a payment option in institutional meal settings and quick-service restaurants.
Their findings indicate that as public awareness of biometrics increases, fingerprint technology has acquired a reasonable level of acceptability as a potential payment mechanism.
The research was conducted over a three-month period beginning in late October 2006 through early January 2007. The sample consisted of 256 UD students, faculty and staff, randomly selected.
Lumsden said the major objectives were to find out the level of awareness of biometric technologies among consumers, primary motivations for likelihood of use as a payment mechanism and the major rationale behind consumers' unwillingness to use it.
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