Manchester pubs use FinGO vein biometrics for age verification, contact tracing

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The hospitality industry in the UK has introduced a biometric vein mapping system to verify age. Biometric identity authentication system FinGo has been approved by Manchester City Council to check people’s age in an establishment without requiring an ID. The Alchemist, a popular location in the area, is the first to use vein recognition technology for this purpose.

The partnership between Manchester and FinGo goes back to 2019, when after 24 months of testing, All Work & Social announced it would be the first business in the UK to deploy its VeinID technology to allow members to pay for food and beverages with just a scan of their finger.

For age verification, FinGo analyzes unique vein patterns, enabling secure identity-enabled transactions. With user consent, it captures and stores contact details that can be used in test and trace activities. Should an outbreak occur, a business can use FinGoID to reach out to customers and provide the information to the Government’s Test and Trace teams.

“For us, bringing in FinGo is about offering choice,” said Jenny McPhee, Brand Director at The Alchemist, in the announcement. “Providing a safe and secure option for guests to pay, prove their age and share contact details can only be a benefit as we navigate the coming months. To be one of the first to use FinGoID in the UK is truly exciting and we’re looking forward to seeing the response from our guests.”

Previous successful payment pilots of FinGo biometrics include music venues, hospital parking sites, BrunelUniversity and Copenhagen Business School.

According to Simon Binns, Chief Commercial Officer at FinGo, although the pandemic delayed the launch, it gave the team extra time to address the challenges raised by the virus. Binns hope that in the future all payments and age verification will be conducted with a simple finger scan.

“What we have now is a solution that puts all of the customer power in their own hands. And unlike other solutions, no personal information is shared with the venue,” Binns said in the announcement. “With a quick scan of the finger, customers leave a secure record of their visit, if needed for test and trace purposes. Crucially this will also take some of the pressure off the hospitality staff who have many new guidelines to contend with.”

To use FinGo, registration happens only once. Users will have to share their details, and verify ID and bank details in the app, and then scan and save their veinID at a FinGo kiosk. The feature can then be used for age verification and payments at partnering locations, but also for Test and Trace.

“Over the last 4 months in particular, we have seen an incredible shift in the technology available and how it can play an important role in the recovery of our sector. The innovative use of biometric identity solutions like FinGoID could play a big role in reshaping customer service,” said British Institute of Innkeeping CEO Steven Alton in a prepared statement. “With the emphasis shifting from staff managing payment and ID to delivering friendly and instinctive service, the possibilities to concentrate on the experiential role of pubs will be immense. Removing the difficulties of managing under-age drinking and ID checking is a really good example of this and will certainly be of great interest to our members going forwards.”

Restaurants and bars have to keep record details and customers’ contact information in case of a possible outbreak. As pen and paper guest books are not necessarily secure, venues have been trying to figure out digital ways to do this.

Binns warns that traditional pen and paper methods are “inconsistent,” The Telegraph reports (via Yahoo).

Vein ID biometrics is not the only technology used to track coronavirus. Some restaurants and beer houses have installed thermal imaging cameras with infrared fever detection. Other venues are using digital QR-codes that are scanned at entrances and tables.

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