The inaugural Miami Formula 1 Grand Prix was a resounding success last year. Organizers are hoping to build on that for this year’s event, creating a bigger and better spectacle once more. They’re also contemplating making punters pay for beer with their palm prints—because it’s a strange and weird future we live in.
As reported by Fortune, the idea comes from JPMorgan Chase & Co., one of the sponsoring partners of the Miami Grand Prix. The bank is a major player in the lucrative world of payment processing. The company has developed a new technology that allows customers to pay for goods and services using their palm print or their face for authentication. It intends for this biometric data to supplant the use of regular debit and credit cards and smartphone payment methods. The key idea is to make transactions quicker and simpler by allowing the customer to authorize payments with their own body.
The technology allows customers to enroll their biometric data—either a facial scan or a palm print—via an in-store process. It’s not just limited to JPMorgan cardholders, either. Many different payment methods can be used with the system. JPMorgan hopes to trial this technology at the Florida race later this year.
“Being able to roll out this new biometrics-based payments scheme would enhance the race-day experience for our guests, as they will enjoy a new, faster checkout process,” said Ramon Peneda, chief information officer for the Miami Grand Prix.
Biometric authentication methods can often raise the ire of the broader public. Privacy issues are a paramount concern, with many concerned that biometric data like fingerprints, palm prints, or facial scans could be used to track them.
The Miami Grand Prix brought a unique Floridian flavor to the world of Formula 1. Getty Images
Industry experts are also quick to point out that biometrics are often a terrible method of authentication. They’re not nearly as accurate as TV cop shows would have us believe, for one. It’s actually surprisingly likely for two different people to appear similar or the same on facial recognition or palm print readers. Various conditions or disabilities can also prevent some people from providing a usable biometric scan. Worst of all, biometrics aren’t secret. It’s unlikely somebody would make a mask of your face to scam a few free Miller Lights, but it’s not impossible.
In any case, it’s unlikely that JPMorgan’s biometric payment system will be mandatory at the race. It would be impractical to require all ticketholders to enroll in the system if they wished to make transactions in the paddock. Instead, it’s more likely a subset of trackside merchants will use the system as a live test of the new technology. The Drive has reached out to both JPMorgan and the Miami Grand Prix organizers for more information and will update this article accordingly.
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