Move over fingerprint and facial scan. Amazon has just revealed a new and cooler way to pay, and it works by scanning the palm of your hand.
Here’s the full scoop.
Amazon One is a biometric checkout device that scans palm prints to authorize payments, enable access to physical spaces, or provide access to transit, among other things. It works much like a fingerprint reader on smartphones, except the device is larger, stationary and installed at the point of sale or entrance.
In a company blog post, Dilip Kumar, Amazon’s vice president in charge of physical retail said that the company has been focussing on innovating its in-store shopping experience and with its latest innovation, the eCommerce giant aims to eliminate any remaining friction at its cashier-less Amazon Go stores.
At the moment, Amazon Go requires customers to download a dedicated app on their smartphone in order to gain entry. With Amazon One, however, all customers will need to do is bring their hand over the terminal to seek entry. And just like before, the system will automatically charge customers for their items to their registered payment card as they leave without requiring any cashier assistance.
Initially, two of Amazon’s contactless grocery stores in Seattle will offer the new technology at their entryways. The company later plans to expand the service across its entire chain. Amazon One may also be made available at Whole Foods stores at some point as Amazon reports that they plan “to add Amazon One as an option in additional Amazon stores in the coming months.”
The eCommerce giant also plans to extend this offering to support other payments and commerce use cases such as ticketing as well as member identification.
Amazon One’s rollout comes at a time when an increasing number of consumers are wanting to engage in contactless shopping and payment experiences, which are also fast and seamless. With that in mind, Amazon has designed the experience such that even non-Amazon users can register with just their phone number, palm scan and a credit card and can do so all right at the terminal. Once the registration is done, customers can authorize purchases or entry by simply holding their hand over the terminal.
Amazon One may win over tech buffs but it is also expected to spark privacy concerns among those who already feel that big tech companies, like Amazon, know and capture way too much data personal data.
Privacy concerns aside, Amazon One is obviously a lot more secure than using credit cards at the point of sale. Palm prints, after all, are not easy to fake and it is near impossible to predict a person’s identity by just looking at their palm print (at least in today’s day and age). Amazon One’s palm recognition also requires the user to “make an intentional gesture,” which ensures that the device does not trigger randomly.
According to Kumar, when a user holds their palm over the Amazon One device, the tech then evaluates multiple aspects of the palm. The device does this as no two palms are alike, so all aspects of the palm are analyzed, recording only the “most distinct identifiers” on the user’s palm to create their palm signature.
All those distinct features and data are then protected by multiple security controls. Kumar assured in the company blog post that palm images are never stored on the Amazon One device. Instead, the images are encrypted and sent to a highly secure area that Amazon has custom-built in the cloud where a user’s palm signature is created.
And for users who no longer want to utilize Amazon Go, Kumar says there is an option to request to delete data associated with Amazon One through the device itself or via one.amazon.com.