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How Having No Thumbs Will Stop You Hiring A Car

Dec 14, 2007
Car hire companies provide a vital service to travellers worldwide. Not only can they provide means of transport across country, without having to endure the rigours of the train or coach network, but they allow customers to travel at leisure and spend time to enjoy their journey. This is their unique angle that should be played up to its fullest.

The car hire industry on average also provides methods of transportation at better rates than the public transport companies, especially when considering joint party travel. These cheap prices are however under threat, however much the car hire companies attempt to keep prices low, they are battling with spiralling costs.

The main reason the costs of running a car hire company are growing at an alarming rate is due to theft of stock and hence added expenditure on maintaining a fleet of serviceable cars. Despite security measures such as taking full credit card details to enable the tracing of anybody who may steal a hire car, thefts are on the increase. The car hire companies are stuck between a rock and a hard place in terms of protecting their fleets and attempting to keep prices low. Ultimately it boils down to asset control.

The major reason behind the present systems of security failing can be attributed to the increase in fraudulent credit card use and identity theft. It has never been easier for criminals to steal credit card details or clone and reproduce phoney credit cards making it impossible for car hire companies to trace the culprits in the event of a theft. This pinch has led hire companies to take a decisive course of action, if they are to keep prices low more high tech ways must be developed to scrutinize potential customers.

One method being tested is in the field of bio-metric data. Experiments have taken place on both sides of the Atlantic at major airports. The main constituent of these experiments has been to take finger and thumb prints of people wishing to hire a car. The hire companies will hold the data, and if the car is stolen pass the bio-metric information over to the police.

Police chiefs have hailed this as a major leap forward hoping that it will reduce the activities of organised criminals who have steadily been taking hire cars with false passports, phoney credit cards and fake driving licences. This is seen as a way to seriously reduce the risk of lease cars being stolen.

Customers taking part in the tests however have been less than enthusiastic. A general response has been that customers feel they have committed no crime and so, should not have to produce fingerprints. Others are worried about how secure the hire companies will keep the bio-metric data. One major worry is that what happens if criminals manage to acquire bio-metric data. How will identities be protected then?

Car hire companies said such fears were unfounded; the new systems are not intrusive to people's lives and are actively working towards protecting identities, further, the information would not be retained indefinitely and would be destroyed once the car was returned. They feel the public has got the wrong idea about the system and are adamant that its main objective is to create deterrence against thieves who may think twice about handing over their fingerprints instead of a counterfeit passport.

It is definite that bio-metric data will become part of our lives in the future. The hire companies who are trialling the thumb print systems have stated that if these tests are successful they will roll the technology out to all their depots. However customers feel about the new technology, be it reducing privacy or not, what can be assumed is that car hire companies will do all they can to protect their fleets. In the long run this new technology will benefit customers and keep prices down, most will see giving a print as a worthwhile sacrifice to achieve this goal.
About the Author
Shaun Parker is an expert in new technologies and knows the car hire industry intimately. To find out more please visit http://www.budget.co.uk/car-hire/car-hire-austria.htm
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