Plastic surgery

The mobile wallet is changing as we speak , from cards to smartphones to body parts

Smartphones that can be used to authenticate transactions are already being replaced by systems using biometrics. Photo: Mark Lennihan / AP
Powered by automated translation

Will our mobile phones ever replace our wallets and render debit and credit cards obsolete? The recent launch of Apple Pay and Google Wallet underlines the new energy that is being put into the big push. Here in the UAE, a local start-up will try to change shopping habits forever by rewarding people who choose to use their phones rather than cards.

This confluence of technology and local initiative might pay off. But then what? The ultimate payment option has to be a body part – fingerprint, vein pattern, eyescan – to authenticate a transaction.

This is already reality rather than sci-fi in Japan and the US, with biometric readers of finger veins. Morbidly, this technology requires the finger to be attached to a living body. This raises a separate issue: criminals have found a way to crack every advance in anti-fraud technology, from the signature to the photo ID. Will the use of biometric security mean that fraudsters will work on ways to clone us?