Swedes pay for lunch with veins

Paying for items will soon be as easy as having a pair of hands thanks to a Swedish student’s ingenious innovation.

Related: Biometric payment methods set to rise in popularity as consumers steer away from mobile devices

Fredrik Leifland, an engineering student at Lund University in Sweden, has developed a vein scanning technique in his native country that allows stores and coffee shops to take payments using the palm of the hand.

“We had to connect all the players ourselves, which was quite complex: the vein scanning terminals, the banks, the stores and the customers. The next step was finding ways of packaging it into a solution that was user friendly," he said.

Leifland thought up the technology two years ago when standing in line at a supermarket and growing impatient at the amount of time it took for shoppers to make payments using a credit card. The engineer got together with a group of classmates and found that whilst the biometric solution existed, there was no system to use it as a form of payment and the group got to work.

15 stores and restaurants around the Lund University campus are already using the terminals and 1,600 active users have signed up for the service with one of the major advantages that the technology is extremely secure.

“Every individual's vein pattern is completely unique, so there really is no way of committing fraud with this system. You always need your hand scanned for a payment to go through,” he said.

Users sign up to the service by visiting one of the 15 stores involved and enter a social security number and phone number on the terminal. The user then scans the palm three times and will receive an activation link via text message that then allows the service to be used.

Related: Fingerprints and faces: How biometric authentication is still far from secure

Vein scanning technology was first implemented in a laptop before Christmas when Fujitsu announced the Celsius H370 laptop as the first mobile device to use PalmSecure image recognition and optical technology.