So many technological developments inspire both amazement and trepidation in me these days that I need to find a portmanteau combining both “whoa” and “um wait hold up just a second.” The latest exhibit: TechCrunch reports Clear, the company you might recognize from airport security lines, has expanded into the “payments side of biometrics,” allowing you to verify your age and pay for a beer with your fingerprint.
This specific technology will debut at two Seattle sports stadiums, CenturyLink and Safeco Fields, and will allow Clear users to skip the traditional payment line and settle up with just a finger touch. At airports, Clear essentially stands in for your passport or other government-issued I.D.; once Clear has verified your I.D., you can use your fingerprint to pass through security lines from then on. Because the company has verified your identity and age, the company can now “vouch” for your legal drinking status at the stadium. Linked to a form of payment, Clear can simultaneously settle up your bar tab.
TechCrunch says it’s the first time in the U.S. that biometrics have been used for both I.D. check and payment. (Clear also provides its distinct admission lanes at eight Major League Baseball parks, per ESPN.) If the rollout goes well, we can likely expect this type of biometric payment technology to expand to more venues. The service is available at Mariners and Sounders games and will launch at CenturyLink Field during the Seahawks’ preseason game Thursday.
It’s like a Black Mirror plot line, as biometric payment seems to bring us one step closer to scanning our retinas to pay for the Soylent-esque nutritional gruel we’ll be issued by our robot overlords in a decade or so. But on the bright side, faster beer sales!