Japan To Require Tourists Use Fingerprints as Payment


Rishika Kenkre
Staff Writer

Japan is now enforcing a system that eradicates the difficulties of cash and credit cards through the use of fingerprints as form of payment in hopes of attracting more tourists, especially in events such as the influx of visitors for the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in 2020.

What happens in Japan is that tourists are forced to pay in cash, as vendors there do not accept credit cards, and if they do it is exclusively from Japanese banks. Therefore, tourists are forced to carry cash, which is not widely considered as convenient as other methods of payment.

The system will be experimental during this very summer and will include around 300 stores, such as souvenir shops and restaurants that are heavily used by tourists. The system is limited to certain regions in Japan, such as Hakone, Kamakura and Yugawara. By next spring, the government will increase the number of businesses that this system is used in.

Through the use of gathering information about location, spending, frequency and other variables, the government will find out how beneficial this system will be for tourists and Japanese vendors.

To use this payment system, customers place their two fingers on a specific terminal at the front desk. Once implemented, the tourist has to register their fingerprints and connect them to important data, including credit card information at official places, such as airports. An advantage of this system is that it reduces the need for people to carry credit cards or cash, potentially decreasing crime and fraud.

In addition, it could be easier to perform tax exemption procedures. Although the system replaces credit cards and cash, tourists will still have to use their government-issued identification, such as presenting one’s passport at a hotel.

The fingerprint system of payment will be headed by a consultative company led by the Japanese government. A similar system has been used on a smaller scale at the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Nagasaki Prefecture. Fortunately, the feedback has been positive.

However, people have to grow accustomed to this system for it to work. Trust has to be established between the customer and the bank, as the customer is linking their account information to their fingerprint. Privacy has to be retained as the system works for the customers, especially since it has to do with tourists. It will also take some getting used to, as generally customers are used to paying with credit cards or cash. Still, they have a lot of time to figure out the kinks of this system before Japan implements it.