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Forget credit cards; PayTango lets you pay by fingerprint

Cassandra Khaw | April 8, 2013
Ever wanted a reason to be paranoid about someone hacking off your hands? If PayTango catches on, your fingerprints may be more valuable than your wallet.

The idea is simple (and absolutely terrifying): Take your fingerprints, upload them to a database somewhere, then have that information connected to whatever mode of payment you so desire. Pow--just scan your fingerprint to pay.You'll never have to worry about whether you've brought sufficient cash or have the right credit cards again.

As is often the case with cool new start-ups revolving around unusual ideas, the people responsible for PayTango are not, in fact, seasoned veterans of the field, but are instead four students from Carnegie Mellon University.

So far, it looks like PayTango has been a bit of a hit among students. When PayTango was introduced at a CMU dining facility, the team made room for 100 student users, and all spots in the trial program filled up within hours. Since then, the free-for-user service has expanded to include three dining locations, and there are hopes that they will soon be able to reach other campuses, fitnesses facilities and retailers.

Needless to say, the team has been doing pretty well for itself. Within months of introducing their brainchild, PayTango has won hackathon awards and has even been seed-funded by Silicon Valley startup accelerator Y-Combinator. The aforementioned team is currently hard at work, trying to lower the cost of building one of its devices. There's been no word as of yet in regards to that, but it looks like the initial prototype had set them back somewhere between $1500 and $1700.

Of course, there will then be the omnipresent worry that someone might abuse your hands while you're asleep but that's a small price to pay, right? In any case, it looks like we know who has their fingers in the right pies.


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