You have to, errrr, hand it to Amazon. The e-commerce giant today announced Amazon One, a new contactless payment method that relies on scanning your palm as you enter its store.
Amazon One is now an entry option at two of Amazon’s Go stores in Seattle (the 7th & Blanchard and South Lake Union stores, if you’re in the Emerald City). To use the new system, you insert your credit card into the terminal and hover your palm over the device. The terminal scans your palm print and from that point on, you just need to hold your hand over the One terminal upon entering the store. After that, the Go technology kicks in and automatically keeps track of and charges you for what you take from the store.
You do not need an Amazon account to use Amazon One, just a mobile phone and a credit card. But you can tie your Amazon account to One, should you choose.
In addition to its own physical stores, which include Go convenience stores, Go Grocery stores, Fresh grocery stores, Prime stores and more, Amazon envisions One being used by other retailers. From the blog post announcing the technology:
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. Or, for entering a location like a stadium or badging into work, Amazon One could be part of an existing entry point to make accessing the location quicker and easier.
We’ve heard rumblings about some form of pay-with-your palm coming from Amazon for awhile now, so today’s announcement isn’t a surprise. It’s also not a surprise given Amazon’s devotion to speed and efficiency. Scanning your phone to enter a Go store may be easy, but waving your hand over a device is much easier and faster. This, in turn, could entice you to choose an Amazon store over the competition more often.
Amazon One is also coming out during a global pandemic and at a time when retailers are looking for more contactless payment methods. Amazon also licenses out its cashierless Go technology, and combining the two could be an attractive contactless option for retailers
Of course, given Amazon’s increasing dominance in not only retail but many other facets of our everyday lives, people may be reluctant to hand over their biometric data like a palm print. In its One FAQ, Amazon said it chose palm prints because they are more private, and that you can delete your data from the service after signing up.
I don’t need to be a palm reader to see that One will probably play an increasingly important part of Amazon’s physical retail experience, and that we could see it in a lot of other stores in the coming years.