Bluetooth Low Energy + Fingerprint Could Make My Wallet Obsolete

Amongst my geek friends I’ve always been an outspoken opponent of NFC as a useful feature. At best, it’s a gimmicky band-aid for where our mobile devices are headed as they play a larger role in our lives. But it was too little and too early. The real application of this interaction with mobile that will open up the door for finally eliminating the wallet is BT Low Energy combined with reliable and accurate biometrics.

With these two technologies working together, polished and ready for the mass market, will destroy NFC for a variety of reasons. It’s more secure — using your fingerprint to initialize a transaction over bluetooth creates a link between the consumer and his/her funds that is simply not available in any other method. The process could be done in seconds and without physical contact with a merchant’s POS system. Actually, the purchase could be made as far as 160 feet from the register according to the BTLE spec.

One could easily envision, down the road, this combination of technologies used for identification. A thumbprint and ID app could easily send a ‘verified’ ID package where the user can limit the data. Need to get into that bar? Scan in by only sending an “over 21” check without having to show the bouncer your full license. If state governments ever adopted 21st century technology, this method could also work for drivers licenses and state issued identification.

Update 6/21/14: With iOS8’s extensions and TouchID API being opened up, I can see this becoming a reality for sure. There are plenty of amazing developers out there waiting to jump on this train. Now only if local and state governments would modernize…