Show your palm to pay bills with Amazon One

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Amazon One
Amazon One payment system

A new biometric payment system using palm recognition has been unveiled by US tech giant Amazon which will be provided to retailers and promoted at stadiums or workplaces, as a substitute for badge entry.

The device, called Amazon One, is a fast and easy contactless way for individuals to make regular purchases using their hands, such as paying at a supermarket, displaying a credit card, entering a location like a stadium, or getting to work easier.

The company said it would install the device at its Amazon Go retail outlets, beginning with two stores in Seattle, Washington, its hometown.

Dilip Kumar, vice president, Amazon said, “the system was developed as a quick, reliable, and secure way for people to identify themselves or authorize a transaction while moving seamlessly through their day.”

The “unique palm signature” of each person is used by the Amazon one as an alternative to other biometric identifiers like fingerprint, iris or facial recognition.

“No two palms are alike, so we analyze all these aspects with our vision technology and select the most distinct identifiers on your palm to create your palm signature,” Kumar commented in a blog post.

As an option for the creditors, the palm-waving system will be installed at the entry gate of the Amazon store.

Kumar added, “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”.

The company said that it was “in active conversations with many potential clients,” which may include other distributors, but gave no further details.

Biometric System

The announcement comes amid rapid growth in the use of biometric payments, from mobile fingerprint scanning to more advanced facial recognition systems.

Alipay, the business division of eCommerce giant Alibaba, is utilizing a “smile-to-pay” device for retailers in China with an iPod-sized device.

The tech giant said, “the biometric data would be protected by multiple security controls and palm images are never stored on the Amazon One device” but send to a “highly secure area we custom-built in the cloud.”

“Amazon will need to secure the data to gain customer trust in the system and make it popular”, said Doug Stephens of the consulting firm Retail Prophet.