Why Fingerprint Scanners Don’t Work for Time and Attendance

Alex Holder

21 August 2017    |    read

The ability to quickly identify and verify individuals has been a crucial skill in human society, since the start of civilization. Where previously face-to-face recognition would have sufficed in tribes and small villages, thanks to today’s rapidly growing global population we require more tools to quickly identify who someone is. In the workplace, the need to identify individuals is particularly important, as it’s often tied to staff attendance, payroll, and workplace security. Throughout the years various solutions have been used to verify staff attendance from paper timesheets, to the Bundy Clock, to fingerprint and biometric scanners. Despite the best efforts of some die-hard fans, the fingerprint scanner has reached its limit, being surpassed by the electronic time clock. With so many other solutions available at our fingertips, why are some people so desperately clinging to their fingerprint scanner? Surely we’ve all seen enough spy movies to know fingerprint scanners aren’t foolproof, let alone feasible in today’s day and age where most of the fun comes from trying to fool the system. And yet, it’s something that we still occasionally hear, “why don’t you have fingerprint scanners?” So to put the debate to rest once and for all, here are three reasons why fingerprint scanners don’t work. And before you start saying, ‘but what about this…” here are three great reasons why the electronic time clock has surpassed the fingerprint scanner. 3 Reasons Why Fingerprint Scanners Don’t Work to Track Staff Attendance 1. They’re Expensive No matter which way you look at it, fingerprint scanners are expensive equipment. Despite the fact that the technology has been around for years, the cost of the device still remains relatively high, potentially setting you back a few thousand dollars. In addition to the device, the cost of the integration between the scanner and corresponding system can be expensive to build. The scanners are delicate and aren’t always built to handle the hundreds of fingerprints pressed onto them throughout their lifetime. Which brings me to my next point… 2. They’re Unreliable Unlike your favorite FBI crime-show encryption-grade biometric scanners, workplace fingerprint scanners are notoriously unreliable. In order to correctly identify and record an individual, fingerprint scanners require a clear image or impression of your fingerprint. Fingers that are dirty, greasy, cold or wet for example, often don’t register on the scanner, making it hard to both clock out and verify the individual. Employers who prefer to use fingerprint scanners, do so because they think it’s easier than remembering a passcode. However should the fingerprint scanner fail to register the scan, some systems will request a passcode. Not only is this an additional hassle to staff who are trying simply to clock in or out, but it also opens the window to time theft through buddy clocking. 3. Maintenance is a Pain As previously mentioned, fingerprint scanners are not cheap. They’re a costly purchase and are even more expensive to repair or replace when they wear out. Repairing a broken scanner requires a specialized technician and often costly parts. On the occasion that it is easier to replace than repair, users often run into more problems as they are not readily available at your local electronics store. On top of this, users often experience issues around the device’s durability, which lead to additional maintenance costs and ultimately a new device down the track. Introducing the 21st Century Solution Electronic time clocks are the most robust, user-friendly, and affordable solution to record staff attendance. According to Statista, 38.59 million British people are expected to own a tablet device this 2017.  Leveraging this statistic, a tablet-based time clock like Tanda can provide an effective and consistent solution to time theft, streamlining your entire payroll process. 3 Reasons Why Electronic Time Clocks are the Market Leading Solution: 1. Affordability Tablets in their various forms have started to become more commonplace in businesses of all sizes. This is thanks to more core business functions such as POS, inventory, and payment processing, becoming available on tablet devices. This technology is providing business owners with greater mobility to engage with customers, as well as streamlining core business activities in one device. Time Clock tablets are easily accessible, affordable and present a number of additional benefits to a business looking to improve their customer offering. 2. Robust and Reliable  Thanks to the prevalence of tablet usage, most people are familiar with how to use a tablet and how they should be treated. Tablets are touch-screen based and as such built to handle lots of little fingers pushing and tapping the screen. Tanda’s Time Clock verifies staff attendance through photos and PIN code verification. Which means that unlike a fingerprint scanner, it doesn’t matter if staff have dirty or wet fingers, they’ll still be able to clock out the first time around. The timestamp and photo verification also make it quick and easy for managers and business owners to quickly check that the right person has clocked in and out for the correct shift. 3. Cloud-Based for More Options Using a cloud-based Time Clock solution like Tanda provides users with more options, which enable rather than restrict the user. Software maintenance and upgrades are not required, as they’re done automatically in the system. Devices are easy to replace and interchangeable, and should the system connection be disrupted, all clock in data is stored locally and uploaded to the cloud later. In addition to this, as a backup, users can access the Time Clock app through a browser on a desktop. Using a cloud solution to track staff attendance provides unparalleled opportunities to streamline additional business administration tasks, as well as providing greater insight into labor costs, staff punctuality, and staff engagement. Workplaces are busy places, and managers have much better things to spend their time on than trying to get the fingerprint scanner to work. Using electronic Time Clocks to track employee attendance allows staff to clock in quickly and efficiently so that they can get out of the backroom and working in your business. Because at the end of the day, you need a system that is affordable, reliable, and accessible, so that you can get on with paying staff and focusing on your business.

The ability to quickly identify and verify individuals has been a crucial skill in human society, since the start of civilization. Where previously face-to-face recognition would have sufficed in tribes and small villages, thanks to today’s rapidly growing global population we require more tools to quickly identify who someone is.

In the workplace, the need to identify individuals is particularly important, as it’s often tied to staff attendance, payroll, and workplace security. Throughout the years various solutions have been used to verify staff attendance from paper timesheets, to the Bundy Clock, to fingerprint and biometric scanners. Despite the best efforts of some die-hard fans, the fingerprint scanner has reached its limit, being surpassed by the electronic time clock.

With so many other solutions available at our fingertips, why are some people so desperately clinging to their fingerprint scanner? Surely we’ve all seen enough spy movies to know fingerprint scanners aren’t foolproof, let alone feasible in today’s day and age where most of the fun comes from trying to fool the system. And yet, it’s something that we still occasionally hear, “why don’t you have fingerprint scanners?”

So to put the debate to rest once and for all, here are three reasons why fingerprint scanners don’t work. And before you start saying, ‘but what about this…” here are three great reasons why the electronic time clock has surpassed the fingerprint scanner.

3 Reasons Why Fingerprint Scanners Don’t Work to Track Staff Attendance

1. They’re Expensive
No matter which way you look at it, fingerprint scanners are expensive equipment. Despite the fact that the technology has been around for years, the cost of the device still remains relatively high, potentially setting you back a few thousand dollars. In addition to the device, the cost of the integration between the scanner and corresponding system can be expensive to build. The scanners are delicate and aren’t always built to handle the hundreds of fingerprints pressed onto them throughout their lifetime. Which brings me to my next point…

2. They’re Unreliable
Unlike your favorite FBI crime-show encryption-grade biometric scanners, workplace fingerprint scanners are notoriously unreliable. In order to correctly identify and record an individual, fingerprint scanners require a clear image or impression of your fingerprint. Fingers that are dirty, greasy, cold or wet for example, often don’t register on the scanner, making it hard to both clock out and verify the individual. Employers who prefer to use fingerprint scanners, do so because they think it’s easier than remembering a passcode. However should the fingerprint scanner fail to register the scan, some systems will request a passcode. Not only is this an additional hassle to staff who are trying simply to clock in or out, but it also opens the window to time theft through buddy clocking.

3. Maintenance is a Pain
As previously mentioned, fingerprint scanners are not cheap. They’re a costly purchase and are even more expensive to repair or replace when they wear out. Repairing a broken scanner requires a specialized technician and often costly parts. On the occasion that it is easier to replace than repair, users often run into more problems as they are not readily available at your local electronics store. On top of this, users often experience issues around the device’s durability, which lead to additional maintenance costs and ultimately a new device down the track.

Introducing the 21st Century Solution

Electronic time clocks are the most robust, user-friendly, and affordable solution to record staff attendance. According to Statista, 38.59 million British people are expected to own a tablet device this 2017.  Leveraging this statistic, a tablet-based time clock like Tanda can provide an effective and consistent solution to time theft, streamlining your entire payroll process.

3 Reasons Why Electronic Time Clocks are the Market Leading Solution:

1. Affordability
Tablets in their various forms have started to become more commonplace in businesses of all sizes. This is thanks to more core business functions such as POS, inventory, and payment processing, becoming available on tablet devices. This technology is providing business owners with greater mobility to engage with customers, as well as streamlining core business activities in one device. Time Clock tablets are easily accessible, affordable and present a number of additional benefits to a business looking to improve their customer offering.

2. Robust and Reliable 
Thanks to the prevalence of tablet usage, most people are familiar with how to use a tablet and how they should be treated. Tablets are touch-screen based and as such built to handle lots of little fingers pushing and tapping the screen. Tanda’s Time Clock verifies staff attendance through photos and PIN code verification. Which means that unlike a fingerprint scanner, it doesn’t matter if staff have dirty or wet fingers, they’ll still be able to clock out the first time around. The timestamp and photo verification also make it quick and easy for managers and business owners to quickly check that the right person has clocked in and out for the correct shift.

3. Cloud-Based for More Options
Using a cloud-based Time Clock solution like Tanda provides users with more options, which enable rather than restrict the user. Software maintenance and upgrades are not required, as they’re done automatically in the system. Devices are easy to replace and interchangeable, and should the system connection be disrupted, all clock in data is stored locally and uploaded to the cloud later. In addition to this, as a backup, users can access the Time Clock app through a browser on a desktop. Using a cloud solution to track staff attendance provides unparalleled opportunities to streamline additional business administration tasks, as well as providing greater insight into labor costs, staff punctuality, and staff engagement.

Workplaces are busy places, and managers have much better things to spend their time on than trying to get the fingerprint scanner to work. Using electronic Time Clocks to track employee attendance allows staff to clock in quickly and efficiently so that they can get out of the backroom and working in your business. Because at the end of the day, you need a system that is affordable, reliable, and accessible, so that you can get on with paying staff and focusing on your business.

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San Antonio Employee Caught Faking Clock-Ins from Breaks

As reported by KSAT, a San Antonio Municipal Court employee resigned after an investigation found out that he was faking his lunch breaks at work. Surveillance video caught the employee approaching the biometric time clock and moving his hand “as if he is scanning his fingerprint to clock out.” The employee returns an hour and seven minutes later to hold up his hand as if to clock in. The video then shows the same employee approaching the time clock station to officially clock in and out. According to the investigation, he faked taking his lunch breaks 79 times since the start of 2017. After he was caught, the employee admitted that he did it to go shopping. Upon his resignation, the court released a statement saying that “the City of San Antonio will not tolerate the theft of time by its employees, and any violation of an administrative directive by an employee is disciplined on a case-by-case basis.” How to reduce this scenario from happening to your business? It is clear from this example that devious employees are getting more creative in the way they commit time theft. This means that more businesses are prone to losing money from paying people for time they didn’t actually work. Incidents like this can be reduced, as long as you follow these simple tips: Regularly hold meetings to check up with staff, reminding them of the company’s policies on attendance and breaks Place time clocks at areas where a lot of people are present at any given time. This increases accountability and prevent employees from buddy punching and other forms of time theft Eliminate manual processes for time and attendance. Switch from paper-based timesheets and Bundy clocks to cloud-based employee time clock software When picking the right time clock software, look for features that reduce time theft incidents. Choose those that have a photo verification feature to confirm that the right employee clocked in and out at the right time. In addition, select the time clock software that allow managers or business owners like you to view in real time which employees are in and out of work, as well as those that are on their scheduled breaks. With a more instant and transparent time and attendance system, time theft can be avoided and you pay staff fairly based on the hours they actually worked.

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Illinois Supermarket Chain Sued for Millions over Using Biometric Data for Time Clocks

As reported by Supermarket News, Mariano’s, a Chicago-based supermarket chain, is currently facing multiple lawsuits for their alleged violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. Also known as BIPA, the law, among other provisions, explicitly prohibits any private entity to collect biometric data without the owner’s permission. It also mandates the private entity to protect biometric data within reasonable care. Former employees of the supermarket chain claim that their employer violated the BIPA when they were required, without obtaining prior written permission, to record their attendance with their fingerprint on a biometric time clock. The plaintiffs also claim that the employer never provided a written document that outlined the specific purpose of data collection, how it will be stored, and how it will be destroyed. Damages could reach up to $10 million. The Burden for Biometric Time Clock Users Biometric time clocks are favored by a lot of businesses for its accuracy. However, unlike company IDs, people can’t request for a replacement fingerprint (or a new iris) if the biometric data fall into the wrong hands. That’s why it wasn’t a surprise that the state of Illinois passed a law that strictly restricts its use. This can prove to be more burdensome than beneficial to any business owner who is using biometric time clocks in their business. Time Clock Software: Accuracy Without the Hassle Tanda’s time clock software accurately tracks employee time and attendance without the need for biometric data. The application takes a photo* of employees as they clock in and out and stores it with their digital timesheets. At any time, managers and business owners can review it to verify their attendance. And all employee information is encrypted and stored securely in data centers with best-in-class security protocols. Biometric time clocks can potentially give your business more problems than benefits in the long run. Switching to a time clock software such as Tanda gives you the accuracy you need for time attendance, plus other features, with zero stress. *Photos are not considered as “biometric identifiers” by the BIPA

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The Three I’s of Data-Driven Workforce Management

Data is the foundation of today’s digital revolution. Because of it, we are able to hail rides through a smartphone, find out what our friends are up to on a daily basis, and access content at any time of the day. This revolution is also making waves in the field of workforce management. Through the power of data and digital technology, companies are finding ways to enhance the employee experience. At the same time, it is benefiting business owners as it also reduces the overall business costs. The core values of data-driven workforce management can be summarized by the three “I”s: Innovation Some of the key tech behind the data-driven revolution are cloud computing, the internet, and mobile. And because of it, workforce management is innovating at a rapid pace. Dedicated legacy equipment and software are being replaced with low-cost, flexible solutions that serve as platforms for data to be received and interpreted. Old-school punch clocks are giving way to tablet-based time clock software. Employee onboarding becomes easier as paper forms are replaced by web-based processes. Integration More devices are connected to the internet, which makes exchanging data easier. With the advent of application programming interfaces or APIs, different kinds of software are able to work together to do more tasks. Integration is reducing the time and resources needed for workforce management. Sales information from the POS can be used for predictive workforce scheduling to help determine the number of staff needed at any given time.   Insight With more systems being integrated comes more data. This means that managers and business owners have access to insights that were not available before. Different types of data are correlated for better benchmarking purposes. At a glance, managers can track business revenue and labor costs in real time. This enables them to make decisions quickly, keeping up with their core metrics. When considering a workforce management solution for your business, look for the one that is highly data-driven. Choose those that puts innovation, integration, and insight at the forefront.

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About the author

Alex Holder

Customer Success: With a background in Information Systems and a passion for new technology, Alex uses his technical knowledge to help Customers achieve great success using Tanda.

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As reported by KSAT, a San Antonio Municipal Court employee resigned after an investigation found out that he was faking his lunch breaks at work. Surveillance video caught the employee approaching the biometric time clock and moving his hand “as if he is scanning his fingerprint to clock out.” The employee returns an hour and […]

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Illinois Supermarket Chain Sued for Millions over Using Biometric Data for Time Clocks

As reported by Supermarket News, Mariano’s, a Chicago-based supermarket chain, is currently facing multiple lawsuits for their alleged violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. Also known as BIPA, the law, among other provisions, explicitly prohibits any private entity to collect biometric data without the owner’s permission. It also mandates the private entity to […]

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Data is the foundation of today’s digital revolution. Because of it, we are able to hail rides through a smartphone, find out what our friends are up to on a daily basis, and access content at any time of the day. This revolution is also making waves in the field of workforce management. Through the […]

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