Airport "Clear Card" Service Abruptly Closes

Security fast pass customers given little information, no refund

By Derek Highsmith
|  Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009  |  Updated 6:15 AM PDT
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Airport "Clear Card" Service Abruptly Closes

AP

Steven Brill, founder and CEO of Clear Registered Traveler, demonstrates a "Clear" airport kiosk.

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The agressively marketed "Clear Card" airport security fast pass service is no longer. Now the some 260,000 customers of the service are out hundreds of dollars and worried their identities are in jeopardy.

On Monday, the service abruptly shut down, leaving only a short note on their Web site that the parent company, Verified Identity Pass Inc., has "been unable to negotiate an agreement with its senior creditor to continue operations."

Silicon Valley traveler Richard Hefner thought he was paying for convenience, but now he's out the money he paid toward the $199 a year service until February 2011. "It's a disappointment. I thought it was a great idea that saved time but it never lived up to it's potential."

The "Clear Card" didn't live up to it's potential because the Transportation Security Administration still subjected customers to the same security checks that are required of other passengers. Hefner and others went through a lengthy application process which included retinal scans and having fingerprints taken hoping they could skip through airport security.

Now, Clear customers are concerned about their identies. Twitter user jamiebyrne1 tweeted: "Um, Clear Card? Can I please have all of my personal information back? And my finger-prints please? Or are you selling those to pay debt?"

Clear operated in airports around the country including San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland in the Bay Area. Users of a competing service, Flo Card, will also be unable to use their cards at the checkpoints formerly operated by Clear. Clear was founded in 2005.

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