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Time and Attendance Systems: Biometric Solutions

What is a biometric time and attendance system?

A biometric time and attendance system is a type of time and attendance software that records data by using biometric authentication. Rather than having employees record their time worked using methods like key cards, passcodes, or sign-in sheets, time and attendance biometric solutions require them to scan a fingerprint, palm print, or similar method.

There are several advantages to using biometric solutions for time and attendance needs. Firstly, you do away with manual paperwork. Second, you automate your time and attendance process with payroll, accounting, and other back-end systems. Third, you prevent dishonest or fraudulent time and attendance tracking when employees go unmonitored. There are several additional benefits to using biometric solutions for time and attendance listed below.

Which industries use biometric solutions?

The most common industries to use biometric time and attendance solutions are those that require higher levels of security. Additionally, you may see biometrics used more frequently in businesses that typically employ hourly workers. This is because time theft and “buddy punching” are most common among hourly employees. Here are several industries that can benefit from using biometric time and attendance systems:

  • Government agencies
  • Healthcare facilities and hospitals
  • Public safety
  • Banking institutions
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels 
  • Casinos 
  • Automotive 
  • Airports 
  • Fitness centers 

Keep in mind that time and attendance is frequently bundled and integrated with access control systems. For this reason, any industry that requires higher security when it comes to access control – and decides to use a biometric system – may decide to use the same system for time and attendance. 

It may be helpful to review this access control checklist and ways to improve your business’s physical security as you explore time and attendance system options. 

Types of biometric time and attendance systems

Biometric time and attendance systems work by scanning an employee as they clock in or out of their work shift. Take a look at the following biometric authentication methods that can be used for time and attendance:

  • Fingerprint (most common)
  • Palm reader
  • Facial recognition 
  • Voice recognition
  • Retina scan

Oftentimes, the authentication method depends on the industry and level of security. Fingerprint scanners are the most common. However, highly secure workplaces such as government agencies or healthcare facilities may use more robust biometric solutions to ensure security. 

When implementing a biometric system in your workplace for the first time, you will take an additional scan from each employee for the system’s records. Then, moving forward, employees can quickly scan into and out of their shifts using the system in just seconds.

Related: 8 Benefits of Time and Attendance Software 

Benefits of biometric systems

1. More secure

One of the biggest reasons to use biometric software for time and attendance is that it is the most secure form of authentication. When using a fingerprint or palm print to start a shift, no social security or other personal information needs to be recorded by the system. In this way it can help to keep employee information secure.

Additionally, software experts now say that authentication forms such as passwords, Personal Identification Numbers (PIN), time cards, and even key fobs and card keys are now prone to error and time theft.

Time theft can occur when employees find ways to record more time worked than is accurate through time and attendance software. For instance, “buddy punching” is on the rise and without highly secure software, businesses are subject to paying employees for more hours than they deserve. In fact, $400 billion is lost from businesses every year due to time theft in the United States.

Using biometric credentials for tracking time and attendance is the best way to ensure accurate data and avoid time theft and forgery. This is why biometric systems are often used in security-sensitive workplaces, such as healthcare.

2. Higher accuracy

Of course, it is hard to forge time and attendance data when a fingerprint, palm print, or other biometric credential must be presented in real time. In addition to preventing time theft, biometric time and attendance systems can help ensure accurate data by providing a digital audit trail. Data is recorded and stored in the cloud in real time, ensuring an in-depth record of accurate time and attendance information.

With biometric software, business owners and managers can pull reports of when biometric credentials were presented on which days. They can look for any suspicious activity or inconsistencies and address the issue before it becomes an ongoing problem.

3. Quick and convenient 

In addition to security and accuracy, time and attendance biometric solutions are extremely quick and easy to use. Scanning a fingerprint takes just seconds – even quicker than entering PINs or passcodes. Then, data is automatically reported and stored securely in the cloud, and the employee can immediately get to work. Keep in mind that many biometric software options offer mobile flexibility, making it even quicker and easier to use the system – especially for remote or on-the-go employees.

Biometric solutions also tend to boost productivity in the workplace. Without manual reporting of time and attendance, you can save employees time when entering and leaving work, decrease unnecessary staffing, and reduce time spent on punching numbers and processing payroll. 

If you don’t already have an automated time and attendance software, it’s time to get on board!

4. More accountability

With biometric solutions to time and attendance tracking, it is very difficult for employees to be dishonest about attendance. For instance, employees can’t “swap” ID cards, use each others’ key fobs, share PINs or passwords, etc. 

Biometric systems require employees to record biometric authentication in real time, making them more honest and accountable for reporting to shifts. Biometric solutions also improve employee performance when it comes to tardiness, leaving shifts early, absenteeism, and more.

5. Cut operational costs

Biometric solutions reduce cost in so many different areas, that businesses see serious improvements to their bottom line as a result of implementing. Consider the following areas in which you will save money:

  • Buddy punching and time theft
  • Human error with manual reporting
  • Bolster loss prevention
  • Increased productivity for HR, payroll managers, and bookkeepers 

SoftwareConnect estimates that businesses who use biometric time and attendance solutions save about $300 per employee per year. Multiply that number by your total number of employees and calculate your potential cost savings.

6. Ensure compliance

Businesses of course need to remain compliant when it comes to labor laws. But compliance can be difficult to monitor when business owners and managers can’t be there at all times to monitor employee time and attendance. Many companies trust employees to clock in and out of their shifts honestly and accurately. But as we learned above, this system can be risky and faulty.

The only way to ensure compliance with labor laws, prevent legal issues, and avoid tax penalties in the long-run is to use a biometric time and attendance system. There’s no way around it! 


The overall cost of time and attendance biometric solutions is based on a combination of both hardware and software costs. It also depends on the time and attendance provider you choose, and what they charge for the system + software.

Average hardware costAverage software cost
$1,000-$2,000$5-$15 per employee per month

Keep in mind that most biometric time and attendance systems will have upfront costs for purchasing the hardware as well as ongoing monthly costs to use the software. Usually, time and attendance system providers charge per employee per month, but you may be able to save some money if you pay annually. All in all, this means that the more employees you have using the biometric system, the more money you’ll pay.

However, one thing to note is that biometric solutions tend to save business money in other ways. For instance, you won’t have to incur the costs of printing and issuing ID cards. Additionally, you likely won’t have to worry about training costs since the systems tend to be easy to use. And lastly, you can save thousands of dollars a year by preventing fraud and time theft. This means a great R.O.I. for biometric time and attendance systems.

Learn More and Compare Prices

Did you know that biometric time and attendance systems can be integrated with back-end systems like payroll software, access control, and other business security systems? Learn about door access control systems and how you can integrate it with biometric time and attendance software.

If you are ready to compare prices for time and attendance systems - biometric solutions or other solutions - we can help! Our free comparison tool helps businesses compare up to 5 time and attendance software options quickly and easily. Just answer a few questions and we’ll match you with our best suppliers in your area.

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