November 30, 2015 -
Tokyo-based startup Liquid is implementing its biometric payment system at numerous stores across Japan, authorizing customers to purchase goods and services with just their fingerprints and veins, according to a report by Nikkei Asian Review.
This past summer, Washoku Dining Kuroda, a Japanese-style pub in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward, installed Liquid’s biometric payment system.
Once they are enrolled in the system, customers can purchase a food or drink item by placing their thumbs on a small fingerprint sensor.
The system identifies customers by their fingerprints and veins. “It’s impossible to fake the fingerprints because Liquid Pay can determine whether the prints are those of a living person,” said Yasuhiro Kuda, president of Liquid.
Fingerprints, bank balances and other private information are stored securely in the cloud instead of at the participating shops and restaurants, according to Liquid.
Although the system relies on regular Internet connections, Kuda emphasized that the data is encrypted, ensuring it “is safe from theft.”
Fitness clubs, restaurants and several other establishments are introducing Liquid Pay. Kuda said the system is gaining popularity in use at public bathhouses, beaches and other places where people are typically concerned about their wallets being stolen or lost.
Though the company is still relatively small, it hopes to one day license its technology to large companies looking to go head to head with payment giants. In fact, the Japanese government is one of Liquid’s major customers.
Another area of growth opportunity is Japan’s tourism boom in which Liquid Pay could provide a convenient option for those travellers unaccustomed to using yen, said Kuda.
On October 31st, Liquid launched a pilot of the technology at Huis Ten Bosch, a theme park in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture.
Visitors can register their biometric data at the entrance and other points throughout the park, then use the Liquid Pay system at the park’s restaurants and souvenir shops.
This marks the first time Liquid has implemented the system at a major commercial facility that attracts several million visitors a year.
Liquid said the trial has been a seamless experience so far, and that it intends to soon expand the technology to department stores, hotels and other commercial facilities in Tokyo.
The company recently competed with four other Japanese startups in the Tech in Asia Tour for a chance to go head to head with other finalists at Tech in Asia Jakarta 2015.
The Tokyo stop was judged by a panel of judges which comprised of Raksul founder and CEO Yasukane Matsumoto, Salesforce Ventures’ Japanese head Shinji Asada, and DG Incubation managing director Takahiro Shoji.