This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, November 7, 2001.
NEIL CAVUTO: Have you ever gone shopping and found that it took longer to pay for your item on the checkout line rather than pick them up?
Indivos Corporation, a company involved in biometrics, has the answer. It developed a new fingerprint scanner that will allow shoppers to pay for all their items by just pressing their fingers up against a sensor instead of using a credit card. Here to tell us more about this new technology is Philip Gioia, president and CEO of Indivos. Welcome. Good to have you.
PHILIP GIOIA, PRESIDENT & CEO, INDIVOS: Neil, thank you for having me aboard.
CAVUTO: How does it work?
GIOIA: Put you finger on a scanner, you don't have to use plastic, you don't have to write a check, ultimate convenience, ultimate security.
CAVUTO: It sounds like ultimate big brother.
GIOIA: It does but, you have to trust that that data is going to be safeguarded and that the system is going to work for you every time, which it does.
CAVUTO: Well, I don't. I don't trust authorities at all with this stuff. This information leaks out. You do electronic commerce over the Internet, and you know, your social security is out to everybody and his uncle, so that is what worries me. Tell me that is not going to happen.
GIOIA: Well, if you believe Larry Ellison, Ellison, who is the chairman of Oracle Operation, Larry's attitude is, is all that information is out there someplace already. You have to make a leap of faith that you put your finger on the scanner, that information will be safeguarded.
Where we have put it in place in front of real consumers so far, and we have had several major tests, and we are about deploy more, people love it. It has like a 98 percent acceptance rate, among the general population. The accuracy and capture rate is great. Technology is built into it so that your image can't be fooled.
CAVUTO: Specifically how does it work, what does it do?
GIOIA: What happens is, you put your finger on the scanner and it reads the little data points on the end of your finger. We are as unique to each other as snowflakes are. Believe it or not, it is not just your finger image, your retinal scan, your facial characteristics, they are all pieces of us that make us totally unique. And that is known as the technology of biometrics. That science has been brought to electronic financial transactions, and we are the first company to bring that together in an integrated way and bring it to the consumer.
CAVUTO: So, in other words, credit but companies, debit companies, would have your completed record via your fingerprints. So no one in other words, in a best-case scenario, could be stealing your stuff?
GIOIA: That is correct.
CAVUTO: Though someone could, you know, ram your finger on an ATM machine.
GIOIA: Well, someone could can always make you go to an ATM machine and withdraw cash my way, that is true.
CAVUTO: Who benefits from this? If retailers and merchants went this route, how does this cut their processing costs?
GIOIA: It cuts the processing costs a couple of ways. If you use electronic checking, for example, if you have a utility bill that gets paid automatically from your checking account every month, that is what is known as an ACH electronic transfer, an electronic check. If you do that, authenticated at point of sale with the biometric, is a very low-cost transaction for the merchants. Let's face it, merchants are not in love with the card associations. They have to pay for the rate, and the margins are away on the card associations. They have to pay that interchange rate on every transaction. Merchants that have very slim margins are giving those margins away to the card associations. Now, if you have a different way to pay, an electronic transaction that is authenticated by a biometric, you have got a huge cost control factor for the merchant.
CAVUTO: But the September 11 issue has changed everything, right? Now there are security issues for you. Could you move that to the security side so this could be like a national identification?
GIOIA: You could, but I have to tell you, Neil, we do not want to give mixed messages. We are in the financial transaction center. We do not want to get the database contaminated with...
CAVUTO: Well, the message that is getting Wall Street excited is that you are eventually going to go public. You are a private concern, now, right?
GIOIA: That is absolutely right.
GIOIA: Sometime next year.
CAVUTO: And do you think that this is the wind at your back, in a perverse sense? That all this attention on security...
GIOIA: In a perverse sense, it is. Believe me, September 11 was a terrible series of events, and no one wants an advantage like that. But the public's knowledge of biometrics is being heightened every day.
CAVUTO: All right, well Philip Gioia, thank you very much. The president and CEO of Indivos.
GIOIA: Thanks for having me.
CAVUTO: Thank you, sir.
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