Technology/Services

Amazon Launches Palm-Powered Payment

Contactless option replaces a QR code with a hand
Amazon Palm-Powered Payment
Photograph courtesy of Amazon

SEATTLE Amazon has added a palm scanner to two Amazon Go units, implementing another layer of contactless commerce technology for physical retail.

“Amazon One is a fast, convenient, contactless way for people to use their palm to make everyday activities like paying at a store, presenting a loyalty card, entering a location like a stadium, or badging into work more effortless. The service is designed to be highly secure and uses custom-built algorithms and hardware to create a person’s unique palm signature,” said Dilip Kumar, vice president of physical retail and technology for Amazon in a blog post.

The technology requires users to insert their credit card and hover their palm over the device so it can identify the customer to their chosen method of payment. Once that is done, customers can hold their palm above the Amazon One device for about a second to gain entry to the store. The device does not require the user to have an Amazon Prime account when first identifying their palm.

Amazon One gives customers the option of scanning their palm instead of a QR code on their mobile device to enter an Amazon Go store or wherever else the technology may appear in the future.

“We believe Amazon One has broad applicability beyond our retail stores, so we also plan to offer the service to third parties like retailers, stadiums and office buildings so that more people can benefit from this ease and convenience in more places,” wrote Kumar in the blog post.

For now, Amazon One is only available at two Amazon Go units, both in Seattle.

Seeking to address concerns about cleanliness and privacy, Kumar said Amazon One is completely contactless, meaning that customers do not have to physically touch the device to use it. Customers can request that Amazon delete whatever data the Amazon One device has on their palm and payment at anytime. Kumar also said palm images are never stored on the Amazon One device itself. Rather, the data is encrypted and sent to a cloud database Amazon manages.

CSP reported in late 2019 that the New York Post latched onto rumors that employees at Amazon’s New York offices were testing biometric checkout technologies to be deployed at Whole Foods Market locations. Kumar has not commented on a potential Whole Foods implementation as of yet.

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