Touché: A Biometric Payment and Loyalty Platform

Described as the World’s First Biometric full-fledge loyalty and payment solution platform, Touché lets you pay with just your fingers. They envisaged a future where you don’t need your wallet to prove your identity. Touché digitalises your wallet into their platform which you can then access wherever their service is available. It makes sense, but would you trust Touché with that very private information?

Convenience for a Digital World

At its core, the company aims to make people’s lives easier by removing the need to carry things such as credit cards, loyalty and membership cards, vouchers, coupons, etc. and wants to make your life easier by remembering coupons, vouchers automatically for you. You register on Touché once at anywhere that offers the service and you can use it globally. Convenience in an increasingly connected and digital world.

Made in Singapore, the hardware of Touché is an elegant rectangular device that is certified and capable of multiple payment options such as VISA, Mastercard, AMEX. There’s a magnetic stripe reader, chip reader, to process your credit card payments, and a 2.2-inch (diagonal measurement) biometric sensor that boasts military grade specifications. Two fingers are required, for stricter identity management.

The demo was smooth, and it should help customers save time, since service staff can call up your bill and process the payment directly from the device. Tap your fingerprints and you are good to go. Receipts are digitalised for easy tracking of expenses.

The first time you visit a merchant, you can pay with your credit card and use Touché’s solution to link the card to your fingers. You then update your particulars and profile online. For subsequent visits to any merchant that uses Touché, there is no need for further registration, and you can even choose between multiple credit cards in your Touché wallet to make payment.

If successful, a system like this would do well in hotels, the cruise industry, and even country clubs (although those are following the dinosaurs’ footsteps). Access to the gym, business facilities, checking in / out, breakfast buffets, and even entering your room with just a tap of your fingers would all be rather convenient. The current magnetic swipe cards to access rooms is a terrible security measure.

For businesses, Touché says the platform is able to integrate to existing technology and process environments. Besides a more streamlined payment process, businesses can leverage on the data acquisition through the platform to track, analyse, and customise offers.

Security and Data Privacy

The biggest and scariest question is security. Touché says they capture the points of your fingerprint and is encrypted on their cloud system. There is also your payment information that is stored with Touché. Similarly, Touché says your credit card information is tokenized. But where and how is the cryptokey that is used to create the token or to store your fingerprint stored? Is Touché’s cloud platform secure? I can’t seem to find information on how they protect or secure such information on their website. I think we live in a world where data breaches are common and we have seen big companies being hacked.

Data privacy would also be of consideration. Would I want to trust Touché to know all my spending patterns, private information, etc? Sure, I might love my paella at Restaurant A. I might want to hear offers from A, but would I want Touche to send me offers from restaurant B that specialises in paella? Where does it stop? Have we had enough with “targeted personalised offers”? Unfortunately, like it or not, the marketing industry is moving towards an emphasis on consumer personalisation and consumers might want to be more mindful of the information and privacy rights that they are giving up. This undoubtedly is a bigger issue that even Google is grappling with, with your personal search history and relevant ads. But since Touché wants to play in this space, these are areas that would they need to address.

Chicken and Egg

Today, Touché is currently available in two areas in Singapore, private club Madison Rooms and Grignoter by Justin Quek. There are hopefully more to come, and even overseas with Touché identifying Japan as a potential market. Japan would be an interesting battleground as the Government is a strong proponent of biometric payment, but they would face strong competition from local Japanese Startup Liquid Inc. Privacy issues aside, consumers will only come on board if the services are widely available. Businesses are the ones that will bear the brunt of the setup and monthly charges. Well until then, don’t forget your wallet yet.

Sean

Sean is a tech geek and star wars fan. He loves playing with new gadgets, writing little code snippets in Python, JS, and dabbling with Android programming from time to time, while keeping a lookout for the next biggest happening in the world of tech!

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