Matthew Boyle reports for Fortune on biometric-based payments and recent research by Sanford Bernstein analyst Emme Kozloff into their potential benefits for major retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco.
The report, by Sanford Bernstein analyst Emme Kozloff, found that the use of so-called "electronic wallets" reduces the potential for fraud and identity theft, speeds up the checkout process, and most importantly, lowers transaction processing fees for retailers, improving their bottom line. A 20% reduction in processing costs at big-box discounters like Wal-Mart over the next several years could result in a 3% to 4% increase in earnings per share by 2009, the report estimated. "We believe both Wal-Mart (Research) and Costco (Research) are looking at it closely," Kozloff wrote. (Both companies declined to comment.)