Science Tuesday: ‘PayTango’ offers convenient payment at your fingertips

By Christina Janansky
@cjanansky

Nowadays, losing something in your wallet is just as easy as losing the wallet itself.

We have gift cards, credit cards, business cards, debit cards, student IDs, licenses, membership cards (and maybe even some cash, if we’re lucky). Needless to say, our wallets are constantly overflowing with an array of different things. Where’s the convenience in that?

Well according to an article on gizmag.com, thanks to a new development by Carnegie Mellon researchers, future consumers may never need their wallets again— all they’ll need is their fingerprints.

The new system called “PayTango” scans shoppers’ fingerprints, retrieves their payment information from a database and allows them to purchase items. The system was designed to consolidate students’ various cards into a single— and simple— payment method.

Using PayTango is easy. At the checkout, a registered user simply places his or her fingers on the scanner. The scanner then uses the shopper’s fingerprints to access his or her personal account. Then PayTango bills the cost to the consumer’s preferred card or payment method.

The university has already implemented PayTango in its own dining halls after a successful pilot test last year. However, developers are hoping to extend the benefits of this breakthrough to other college campuses, retail stores and gyms across the nation.

Signing up for PayTango is nearly as simple as using it. With the touch of the scanner and 20 seconds time, anyone can register. First the user places his or her index and middle finger on the biometric scanner. After the device scans the person’s fingerprints, he or she swipes a credit card through the device and enters a phone number to make a personalized account.

The PayTango can register any card with a magnetic strip—this includes gift cards, debit cards and a variety of others.

That’s right—no more mountains of MasterCards or collections of four birthdays’ worth of gift cards. A shopping addiction could be at the convenience of your fingertips.

Here’s a video of the PayTango in all of its simplistic glory, via gizmag.com:

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