Biometric time clocks

Are they right for you?

  • 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

Should I use a biometric time clock?

While there are plenty of great biometric time clock options for business owners to choose from, ask yourself a couple of questions before making the leap. First, determine if it is legal to manage employees with biometric time clocks 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 that integrates with your payroll provider and other operational processes. Your time clock should come 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. Homebase’s time and attendance software has everything you need for tracking employee time and keeping your business running efficiently.

Time clock app punching in employee pin

What are some alternatives to a biometric clock?

If you want to eliminate buddy punching (which is what can happen with a punch clock) and stay compliant with your employee time and attendance local laws at the same time, the best alternative is a time clock software like Homebase. 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.

With a plethora of reporting options to track time data, your workforce will run more efficiently, allowing you to focus on empowering your team and growing your business. Plus, Homebase is free, so get started today by bringing your team management to the cloud.


“We grew so attached to Homebase that I almost didn’t switch to a better POS system because I was worried about not being able to integrate Homebase. Luckily, we were able to upgrade our POS and keep Homebase - best of both worlds!”

Marko Sotto

Owner at Barzotto

Work from anywhere using timeclock app

What are biometric time clocks?

A biometric time clock is a small business time clock solution that 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 and track and manage time. However, other devices rely on iris scans or facial recognition.

How does a biometric time clock 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.

Are biometric time clocks legal?

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. Storing this kind of employee data can be seen as intrusive, so the legislation protects employee 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. With Homebase you’ll have access to many features such as a mobile GPS time clock, online time clock, break management, time and attendance tracking, and more.

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. However, using an online time clock like Homebase is a better route because you can rest assured that your time tracking solution is compliant.