Home > Identity Theft and Scams > Fingerprint Scans Replace Debit Cards for Japan’s Tourists

Comments 0 Comments
Advertiser Disclosure


Are you one of those people who gets annoyed every time you have dig around your pocket or purse when you want to buy something? What if all you needed was a finger?

Well, you could be in luck… eventually.

Japan is planning to test out a system this summer that would eliminate the need for tourists to carry debit or credit cards, The Japan News reported this week. Rather than using a traditional plastic card to conduct transactions, visitors will soon be able to verify their identity and pay for items using biometric fingerprint scanning.

The Japanese government is reportedly testing out the system in an attempt to bolster tourism by preventing crime and eliminating the inconvenience of carrying cash or cards ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

How the System Will Works 

Starting this summer, inbound tourists will be asked to register their fingerprints in conjunction with their credit card information at airports. Once they verify their identities, they can then begin making card purchases by placing two fingers on special readers installed in stores and restaurants. According to The Japan News, about 300 retailers in popular Japanese shopping districts are currently planning to participate in the program, though the Japanese government plans to expand that number by next Spring.

Using biometric tools like this could prevent an illegal credit card skimmer from stealing your credit card information.

In addition to the potentially creating a safer environment for the 40 million tourists anticipated by 2020, the Japanese government is aiming to improve tourism management by using the big data it collects on tourists’ movements and spending habits.

“Data concerning how and where foreign tourists use the system will be managed by a consultative body led by the government, after the data is converted to anonymous big data,” The Japan News reported. “However, there are concerns that tourists will be uneasy about providing personal information such as fingerprints.”

Biometrics Basics

Payment by fingerprint is certainly not mainstream, though some startups and financial companies have been experimenting with using biometric measures, like fingerprint scans, to beef up card security in the U.S. and global markets. These measures are generally encrypted and not readily shared, but it’s always in your best interest to read the terms and conditions associated with a biometric you might use to learn, among other things, what is being scanned, where it is being stored, who may be privy to your data and what security features are in place should the sensitive information get stolen or compromised.

And, regardless of what security measures are in place, biometric or otherwise, you should always check your credit or debit card statements. Frequently keeping an eye on your credit card bill or bank statements is instrumental in protecting yourself from fraudulent activity. You should report any unrecognized account activity immediately to your bank.

You can also monitor your credit if you ever have reason to believe your personal information was compromised alongside your payment cards. (You can do so by viewing your two free credit scores, updated each month, on Credit.com.) A sudden drop in credit score can be a sign identity theft is occurring.

More on Identity Theft:

Image: Hemera Technologies

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team