Kroger Lets Shoppers Pay Via Fingerprint

Tue Dec 24, 1:34 PM ET

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Suppose you endured the checkout line at the grocery store only to find that you were short on cash, or you'd forgotten your wallet. What if you could settle the bill with just the touch of your finger?

Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR - news), the largest U.S. supermarket chain, is offering some customers just that opportunity, testing finger imaging as a method of payment in three of its Texas stores.

A machine scans the index finger, matching the customer's unique fingerprint with the individual's account.

The company avoids the term "fingerprinting" because of its law enforcement connotation -- the same reason the technology is applied to the index finger, rather than the thumb.

Customers can register for the voluntary program by presenting a drivers license, an index finger and a method of payment -- either credit card, debit card or electronic check.

"Early indications are that it's being well received by the customer, the new technology is performing well, and it is saving both time and money," said Gary Huddleston, manager of consumer affairs for Kroger's Southwest division.

The company has been testing finger imaging in the Texas towns of Bryan and College Station for about nine months. About 10,000 customers are currently participating.

Students from nearby Texas A&M University have been particularly receptive, as have "surprisingly, many of our seniors," Huddleston said.

Cincinnati-based Kroger has not yet made plans to roll finger imaging out to more stores, as it is still in the test phase, Huddleston said.


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