Pay With Your Palm Through Amazon’s New Biometric Identification Technology

By Thomas Price Friday, October 2, 2020

In another major innovation, retail and technology giant, Amazon, has introduced a new way to streamline purchases. With concerns over health reaching new highs due to COVID-19, strides to make interactions as contactless as possible have become a concern of health as much as it has been about convenience. Amazon’s most recent step toward a future without the need of contact comes through with Amazon One. While the current test bubble for the product is small, Amazon has major ambitions for it moving forward.

What Is Amazon One?

Amazon One is the undertaking of tremendous biometric recognition software in order to create a more seamless and contactless payment system. When visiting any physical store powered by some form of Amazon payment, instead of pulling out a credit card or using a cell phone, a shopper can hover their hand over the Amazon One device. The device will then scan the palm, recognize the unique layout of veins and creases, and then approve the transaction after linking that palm to a specific user account, mobile phone, or credit card. This technology has been developed through a unique algorithm paired with prior recognition software and has the assurance from Amazon that it will be highly secure. While other companies, such as Apple, have used similar biometric scanning in the past with their thumbprint identification on older models of the iPhone, nothing of this nature has been introduced by such a large company.

The enrollment process will be as simple as adding a phone number, inserting a payment card, or providing an Amazon account to the device while holding one palm over it. The palm identification will be linked to whatever payment method is chosen and will be accessible on all Amazon One devices moving forward. As it currently stands, Amazon One is available at two Amazon Go storefronts in Seattle, but it is clear that the company has much larger plans for the technology moving forward.

Future Plans for Amazon One and Possible Concerns

Despite the extremely small rollout, Amazon has major ambitions for the device, with hopes of creating a new standard for retail across the nation, and perhaps, the globe. In Amazon’s own blog post announcing Amazon One’s implementation, the company made specific remarks highlighting hopes to see it being used by other companies outside of Amazon. The possible plans include other retail locations, stadiums, and other large venues, as well as for office spaces. While it is being rolled out as a contactless payment platform, the hopes for use in office or workspaces show the large point of the technology. Amazon One, at its core, is an identification technology that can be used to identify a prior ticket purchase at a concert or sporting event or be used as security for entrance into private buildings.

This is where concerns over security and privacy come closer to the surface. Despite Amazon making assurances that the use of the technology will be completely secure, many others have doubts. Amazon has run into criticism in the past due to their overbearing approach to what constitutes privacy and security. When considering the company’s issues with biased facial recognition algorithms, another identification technology could raise doubts. Nevertheless, it is very unlikely that these concerns will slow down the company’s major ambitions for Amazon One, which is anticipated to expand to Amazon-supported retailers throughout the nation if initial use at the two Seattle storefronts proves successful.

Final Conclusions

Amazon One is a groundbreaking technology that has possible implementation and use far beyond its current purpose. Creating contactless, one-second payment options for consumers gives both a slightly more health-conscious and extremely more convenient option for those who are looking for one. The possible expansion to many different third-party retailers and venues would be a major step in normalizing the technology and creating a more efficient space for other businesses. If implemented in office spaces and other private properties, the potential for Amazon One reaches entirely new heights.

About the Author


Headshot of Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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