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CHARLESTON, S.C. - Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co. today launched a finger-scanning payment system in four of its South Carolina stores to help simplify, secure, and speed up customer checkout transactions.
The system, produced by San Francisco-based Pay By Touch, gives Piggly Wiggly customers the option of paying for their groceries by using a finger scan linked to their financial accounts and loyalty card information -- their Pay By Touch "wallet" -- which is stored at secure IBM data centers.
"Speed, convenience, and security were the main factors in our decisions to do the installation," said Piggly Wiggly manager of community and employee relations Rita Postell in an interview with Progressive Grocer. "Transactions using the Pay By Touch system are estimated to take one-third less time than transactions using traditional payment methods."
Adding to this speed is the fact that customers don't have to fumble in their wallets for loyalty cards or, in the case of age-restricted products, IDs. "Once that information is in the system, all they need is their fingertip," said Postell. "This is extremely helpful for mothers who shop with their children, because it is difficult for them to look for credit cards or sign checks while also keeping an eye on the kids."
Once the customer is enrolled in the Pay By Touch system, the process is simple: The Pay By Touch transaction is intitated when the customer places his finger on the sensor and enters his phone number or other ID. The encrypted information is sent to the secure data center, where the match is found, and the customer's "wallet" is presented at the point of sale. The customer selects a payment vehicle from the wallet, and payment approval and settlement are completed through the payment processor as usual.
Piggly Wiggly is marketing the program to its customers with a media alert at each of the four locations involved. Local news and press were invited to cover the event, and Piggly Wiggly and Pay By Touch staff were on hand to give demonstrations and sign up new members. "One huge benefit of signing up is that once you sign up to the system, you can use your finger to shop at any store [using] the Pay By Touch [system], regardless of location or retail channel."
Piggly Wiggly also receives the added benefit of increased accuracy in loyalty card member transactions, Postell pointed out. "When the loyalty card is in the electronic 'wallet,' you don’t have to worry about bringing it in," she said. "We get the data, and customers get the discount."
Piggly Wiggly plans to gradually roll out the Pay By Touch system to its remaining 112 stores.