Shopping: Give Them a Hand

Need to buy milk but forgot your wallet? No worries if you are one of the 2.5 million subscribers who've signed up to use biometric technology by Pay By Touch that links a photocopylike scan of your finger to a bank or credit-card account. Proponents of the tech, which is available in selected grocery stores in 44 states, say it saves time and helps guard against credit-card fraud. "Debit cards were good," says Amer Hawatmeh, owner of Coast to Coast in Tampa, Fla., which just introduced the scans. "But what could be better than your own finger?"

Some prefer their plastic. "We'll all have bar codes on the back of our necks in 10 years," says Stacey Minton, a Coast to Coast shopper who declined to sign up. "As with any technology, people are leery at first," says Shannon Riordan, a Pay By Touch spokeswoman. But "convenience wins in the end."