Fingerprint-based payments provider Touche inks deal with OCBC

Fingerprint-based payments provider Touche inks deal with OCBC

Touche fingerprint payment reader
A customer using Touche's fingerprint-based payment reader. (Photo: Touche)

SINGAPORE: Merchants with OCBC Bank could soon have the option of offering a fingerprint-based payments and loyalty programme system to its customers.

On Wednesday (May 23), Singapore-based start-up Touche announced it has signed an agreement with the bank to offer its payment device and services for the latter's credit card merchant customers with brick-and-mortar outlets.

The physical payment device incorporates a fingerprint sensor, a slot for chip-based credit cards as well as the magnetic stripe reader. This thus eliminates the need for multiple payment devices, the company said, adding that the receipts are emailed to the customer's account which makes "the reconciliation process more efficient and eliminates paper entirely".

CEO and co-founder Sahba Saint-Claire told Channel NewsAsia in an interview before the announcement that its service is not aimed at the mass market like hawker stalls - a business segment he said does not lend well to digital payment methods. 

"The hawker uncle and auntie are busy cutting and preparing the food, how will they turn around and verify a payment? They rather take the cash," said the longtime banking professional and former chief operating officer at Standard Chartered.

Rather, Touche and OCBC are targeting the medium- to high-end establishments with the initial focus being on food and beverage (F&B).

For instance, the company showcased its service at chef Justin Quek's Grignoter back in 2017 and Mr Saint-Claire expressed confidence that with the OCBC agreement in hand, the company would be able to increase the number of places implementing its service. 

The CEO was also keen to stress that its service is not about payments, but rather helping partners and merchants to create a lifestyle experience for their customers.

This means allowing merchants to integrate their existing loyalty programmes into Touche's payments process, or create a new one. The company, which was founded in 2014, also touts its analytics capabilities to give merchants insight into their customers' buying habits, preference for specific items and whether they are likely to be returning to your shops.

"We want to make it a point of delight, instead of a point of sale," he said. 

Mr Saint-Claire said there are currently 650 individuals in its user base, and remains confident the OCBC agreement would boost the numbers.

There are also plans afoot to include facial recognition as a complementary method of authentication on its payment device, and allowing customers to link their bitcoin accounts to Touche's digital wallet, he added.

Source: CNA/kk