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10/22/2007
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Companies Test Fingerprint Recognition For Mobile Payments

The Atrua and Cellular South trial found that 87% of testers are interested in using fingerprint-touch based mobile payment technology once it's commercially available.

Atrua Technologies, a provider of intelligent touch controls, announced on Monday that it supplied a fingerprint recognition technology used for mobile payments on Kyocera cell phones.

The Kyocera cell phones were used in a mobile payments trial conducted by Cellular South, a privately held wireless carrier in four southeastern states in the United States. As part of the trial, which was launched in May in Tennessee and Mississippi, cell phone users were able to access payment cards using their fingerprints.

The goal of the trial is to raise awareness and adoption of mobile fingerprint touch control technology in m-commerce applications, meaning those that enable commerce on mobile devices, to make mobile payments less time consuming and more secure, according to Atrua. According to Cellular South, 87% of testers that participated in the trial are interested in using the mobile payment technology once it's available for commercial use. Other testers found the technology convenient to use and an innovative method for making everyday payments and purchases.

This year, 26 new fingerprint phone models have been unveiled globally, and 22 of them have Atrua's fingerprint touch control, the company said. The technology is a combination of sensor and software. Atrua is demonstrating its touch control capability for mobile commerce at this week's Smartphone Summit Conference being held in conjunction with CTIA Wireless 2007 in San Francisco.

Cellular South and Atrua aren't the first to test mobile payments. Although the technology hasn't yet taken off in the United States, others are conducting similar trials to promote its adoption.

Texas-based IBC Bank on Monday tapped mFoundry for its Spotlight Mobile Banking application that will provide IBC's customers with instant access to their checking, savings, and credit card accounts. They'll be able to transfer between accounts and pay bills on their mobile devices. IBC will offer the service in English and Spanish at the beginning of next year with all of the major U.S. wireless carriers.

Last month, it was revealed that Google applied for a new patent centered on Short Message Service-based mobile payments. It's similar to PayPal's mobile payment system, which also uses SMS to complete transactions.

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