Sign of the Times: You May Need a Facial Scan to Rent a Car

(Photo by Avantgarde Concept on Unsplash)

Biometric screening is expanding to the rental car industry.

Hertz said Tuesday it is teaming up with Clear, the maker of biometric screening kiosks found at many airports, in an effort to slash the time it takes to pick up a rental car. Clear hopes it will lead more travelers to its platform, which has 3 million members in the U.S.

It's the latest place consumers will find biometric technology, which has migrated over the last 50 years from secure government facilities and banks to airports, stadiums and even smartphones that unlock with the touch of a fingerprint. Hertz is the first rental car company to use the technology.

Improvements in cameras and other technology have made it cheaper to install scanners that can read fingerprints, faces

and irises. More than 100 airports worldwide use biometric readers from Clear, Vision-Box and other companies to scan passengers. Walt Disney World verifies visitors' identity by scanning fingerprints.

And the advancements will likely keep coming. Microsoft is working with Australia's national bank on cardless ATM machines that would let people withdraw cash using a facial scan and personal identification number. Universities in London and Copenhagen have on-campus groceries that let students pay with their finger. Some laptops can now be unlocked with a fingerprint scan.

Hertz with Clear launched its biometrics scans this week at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. It will be rolled out to 40 more U.S. Hertz locations next year, including John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, San Francisco International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.

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