It might be creepy, but a pandemic is the perfect opportunity for Amazon to promote Amazon One, the new contactless, biometric payment technology that it wants in all stores.
Amazon One’s palm recognition technology essentially allows the user’s hand to make touch-free payment by scanning the biometric pattern or “palm signature” to identify the payee.
Sign up involves a simple process where users insert their chosen credit card into the device and then hold their palm over the scanner to link their hand to the payment source.
Palm scanners are not new, but Amazon’s market cloud could drive the technology into the payments mainstream.
The tech giant has yet to provide any details on how the scanner works, other than it scans “distinct features on and below the surface” of the customer’s palm and uses custom-built algorithms and hardware to decipher each customer’s palm signature.
“One reason was that palm recognition is considered more private than some biometric alternatives because you can’t determine a person’s identity by looking at an image of their palm,” said Amazon’s physical retail business vice president Dilip Kumar.
“It also requires someone to make an intentional gesture by holding their palm over the device to use.”
Amazon One and only
Currently, Amazon One is only being used in Amazon Go stores in Seattle, but the retail giant has ambitions to extend the technology to third parties for everyday store payments and related transactions such as loyalty cards, events entry and work passes.
The company said it is “in active discussions with several potential customers” about rolling Amazon One out to other retailers.
Amazon Go stores using Amazon One require customers to scan their palms upon entry. Customers are then charged automatically via the card linked to their palm when they leave with their chosen items.
“In most retail environments, Amazon One could become an alternate payment or loyalty card option with a device at the checkout counter next to a traditional point of sale system,” Amazon commented.
“Just walk out”
Amazon has been testing “just walk out” technology which uses cameras and sensors to monitor which items customers leave the shop with and then automatically charging the customer via a payment app.
“We believe Amazon One has broad applicability beyond our retail stores,” commented Kumar. “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.”