Biometric time clocks
Are they right for your business?

  • Biometric time clocks are illegal in several states
  • Using fingerprints and irises could pose an employee privacy issue
  • The free Homebase time clock prevents time theft, keeps you compliant, and makes work easier
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Should I use a biometric time clock?

While there are plenty of great biometric time clock options, ask yourself a couple of questions before making the leap. Is it legal in your state? Are your employees OK with this type of data collection? You can still usher your time tracking into the 21st century in a way that’s legal nationwide by using a modern time clock app that integrates with your schedule and tracks labor costs, like Homebase. 

You should also find a time clock, whether it comes with a fingerprint scanner or not, that integrates with your payroll provider and other operational processes. Make sure it comes with an app that allows you to check on clock ins, see who’s on time and who’s late, and who’s taking their breaks, no matter where you are. Luckily, Homebase checks all these boxes. 

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What are some alternatives to a biometric time clock?

If you want to prevent time theft (in the form of buddy punching) and stay compliant with your local laws at the same time, the best alternative is a time clock software like Homebase. When we say we make work easier, we mean it! Our free app helps you save hours on payroll, track attendance, and stay up-to-date even if you’re not in the office. 

You do also have the option to use physical time cards, punch cards, proximity cards, or swipe cards, but they are riddled with risks. Time tracking cards of any kind offer no protection against buddy punching, and you’ll be on your own when it comes to your payroll process. 

The best way to determine if a cloud-based system is right for you and your employees is to try out Homebase. Once you and your employees are all set up on the platform, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing the right person is clocking in for their shifts. 

You’ll also be on top of overtime and labor costs, as well as who’s on time for their shifts the most. With a plethora of reporting options, your workforce will run more efficiently, allowing you to focus on empowering your team and growing your business. Plus,Homebase is free! There’s nothing stopping you from getting started today

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What is a biometric time clock?

A biometric time clock foregoes the traditional pin codes or timecards and identifies an employee as they clock in by detecting a unique body measurement. Also known as hand scanner time clocks, fingerprint time clocks, handpunch time clocks, or biometric handpunch devices, these types of systems usually use fingerprints or hand geometry to recognize each employee. However, other devices rely on iris scans or facial recognition. 

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How does it work?

Biometric time clocks that use fingerprints or hand geometry utilize a scanner to recognize stored images of each employee’s fingerprints in real time to determine whether or not the right person is clocking in. If you’re using a device that recognizes irises, the scanner illuminates the employee’s eye with infrared technology to pick up patterns. That data is stored the same as the hand or fingerprint data.

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The cons of biometric time clocks

Some employees may not want you to collect their biometric data—and some states agree. Using a biometric system for employee clock ins is illegal in several states including Illinois, Texas, and Washington. Why? Storing this kind of employee data can be seen as intrusive, so the legislation aims to prevent employers from infringing on their team’s privacy rights. 

So, if you’re looking into implementing a biometric time clock system, be sure to check your state and local labor laws to make sure you can. If you’re worried about breaking any rules, consider instead opting for a cloud-based time clock. We recommend getting started with Homebase!  

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The pros of biometric time clocks

The biggest reason business owners use biometric clocks is because they eliminate buddy punching. Buddy punching is when one employee clocks in for another team member if they haven’t yet arrived for their shift. Since the biometric markers are unique to each employee, coworkers can’t clock in or out for each other.  

It’s important for businesses with hourly workers to use a time clock and stay compliant with federal and state labor laws. Any type of time clock, including a biometric time clock, is essential for tracking employee hours and attendance. 

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