Supermarket giant Tesco is among several leading UK retailers who will pilot a scheme to allow customers to pay for groceries with their fingerprints, instead of their credit cards.

The technology has already had great success in the US, where consumers do not have to worry about forgetting their purse at the checkout. To pay, they simply press their fingertip against a sensor and enter a password, a process which calls up pre-registered information on fingerprints and bank account details.

Phil Gioia, head of biometric systems company Indivos, explained to The Express On Sunday: “The technology is inevitable in major multi-lane retailers,” for whom fraud is a serious problem.

He stressed that the technology offers speed, convenience and security, and explained that the chances of a criminal accessing another person’s fingerprint details are virtually impossible. He added that the “dead-finger scenario” (chopping off a finger from a corpse, or living person, to access their bank details) is equally unlikely: “This wouldn’t work because the scanner measures the finger’s ability to store an electric charge at each one of 64,000 points. An inanimate object would not produce an accurate reading. A criminal would need your living finger to trick the scanner.

“If someone is willing to kidnap you to access your data, you’ve got a whole different set of problems,” he added.

The trial is expected to start within a year and, if successful, the fingerprint systems could also be used as security devices at airports.