News of the Weird

Saturday May 04, 2002

Oakland company  

creates future shopping 


SEATTLE — At the West Seattle Thriftway, if you touch it, you buy it. 

In addition to using cash, checks or charge cards, shoppers can now pay for groceries by touching their finger to an electronic sensor and linking to their credit cards or checking accounts. 

The new system, operated by Oakland, Calif.-based Indivos Corp., gives customers a convenient and secure way to pay for groceries, store owner Paul Kapioski said Wednesday. 

“It is a hassle to have to pull out your cards,” said Pearl McElheran of West Seattle. “This will be much more convenient.” 

Philip Patten joined hundreds of other customers to enroll in the new system Wednesday. Patten placed his index finger on a small scanner several times, allowing the system to record several points on the pad of his finger. After typing in his phone number and swiping a debit card through a reader, he was able to use the “pay-by-touch” program. 

The store has sensors used to scan fingerprints installed at each of its 14 checkout stands. The sensors cost about $150 each. 

Customers using the program felt secure supplying the company with their fingerprints and credit card numbers. 

“I figure they must have perfected it or they wouldn’t be doing it,” said Judy Waring.