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Belgian school lets students pay for their lunch with a palm scan

At the Sint-Bavohumaniora in Ghent, students will soon be able to pay for sandwiches and drinks via a scan of their palm. The biometric technology would be more practical than the current badges and meal vouchers, which are regularly forgotten or lost.

In a conversation with VRT Radio 1 , director Hilde Allaert stated that the school had been looking for an alternative payment system for a while. According to her, a box with receipts, meal tickets and money no longer fit in with this time: “We have placed different systems side by side, but ultimately opted for biometrics. The technology has been around for a long time and payments are very simple this way”. It is not known which system will be used, nor technical details. Allaert: “We are still looking at how we will register the students.”

Allaert emphasizes that the system can only be used for payments at school. “It is about the safety of the students’ money. It is not intended to evolve into a system like in China. That must be laid down in a GPRP privacy agreement,” the director says. The Belgian Privacy Act applies and based on information from the Belgian Data Protection Authority it appears that parental consent is sufficient. According to Allaert, the reactions among parents have been positive so far.

The Sint-Bavohumaniora is the first secondary school in Flanders to introduce the system. The palms of all students will be scanned in the coming weeks. The first ‘biometric payments’ could then take place at the school in October. The parents were informed by email earlier this week of the introduction of the palm scan.

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