Amazon to expand its palm print-based payment system

Amazon to expand its palm print-based payment system

The tech giant is rolling out new palm print checkout systems to select Whole Foods and other POS locations.

Amazon will expand its Amazon One palm print checkout system to dozens of Whole Foods locations, according to a report in Ars Technica. The move represents the most significant expansion of the technology that was introduced in 2020, according to the article.

Amazon One allows customers to speedily check out at retail locations using only their palm prints after storing a scan of their hand via an interface at Amazon’s kiosks. “Our goal is to unlock your world by giving you the freedom to pay, enter, and identify with nothing but your palm”, Amazon says.

The palm print data is encrypted and stored on Amazon’s servers. The system is touchless and sanitary: Amazon One works when you hover your palm over the scanner. This is a distinct advantage over other handprint technologies. “Our service means that after signing up, you won’t have to touch anything to use it”, Amazon says.

Amazon initially added the technology in its Amazon Go stores and the now-shuttered Amazon Books retail locations. It then made its way to several Whole Foods locations in the Seattle area. Amazon has owned the Whole Foods grocery chain since 2017.

First target for expansion: California

Amazon Go will initially expand to 65 Whole Foods stores across California. The rollout starts in Malibu and Santa Monica, with more locations adopting it in Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, and the Bay Area over the next few weeks. Amazon previously rolled the tech out to a few select locations in California, but never at this scale.

But the company’s storage of customers’ palm prints has attracted some criticism and concern. TechCrunch reported that U.S. senators reached out to Amazon with pointed questions about how the company would use palm print data.

In a move to counter possible consumer misgivings, Amazon also launched a program to offer customers a $10 credit to register their palm data in the system, according to TechCrunch.

Tip: PayPal Tap to Pay turns smartphones into payment terminals