A test in the Netherlands may help determine whether grocery-store customers in Europe will pay with their fingertips, a concept that has failed to gain popularity and profitability in the United States. The test began Tuesday at an Albert Heijn store, a spokesperson for Netherlands-based Equens N.V., the processor involved in the project, tells CardLine sister publication CardLine Global. Albert Heijn operates more than 750 supermarkets, but the spokesperson did not say which location is testing the "Tip2Pay" scheme. The test relies on mathematical representations, or templates, of customer fingerprints. Customers provide proof of identification and debit card data and have at least two fingers scanned to register for the service. "As the Netherlands is not really a credit card country–debit cards are used far more often than credit cards–we chose to conduct this pilot based on debit transactions," the spokesperson says. At least 60 customers took part in the test during its first day, the spokesperson says, and Equens expects hundreds of customers to register during the six-month trial. A similar system in the U.S., however, could not find enough customers. In March, U.S.-based biometric-payments company Solidus Networks Inc., known as Pay By Touch, stopped processing fingerprint-based retail transactions (CardLine, 3/19). The company filed for voluntary bankruptcy protection in December (CardLine, 1/9). Petrol stations and grocery stores were among the merchants that accepted Pay By Touch payments. The Equens spokesperson seemed unconcerned about the troubles Pay By Touch experienced and did not want to talk about the prospects for a biometric-payment rollout in the Netherlands. "Equens is interested in experimenting with new payment methods and technologies. The main purpose of the [test] is gaining user experience and enabling us to test the technology in a practical setting," the spokesperson says. "At this point, it is not relevant to talk [or] think about a full-scale rollout since this explicitly is a test."

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