Amazon Puts Cash in the Palm of Consumers’ Hands

Debuts new contactless payment at two Seattle Amazon Go stores
Photograph courtesy of Amazon

Ever streamlining the experience and speed with which customers can shop its stores and pay for goods, Amazon introduced Amazon One today. Amazon One enrollment requires only a credit card, mobile number and the palm of a hand. Once established, Amazon One offers a convenient, contactless way for people to use their palm to make everyday activities such as paying at a store, presenting a loyalty card, entering a location like a stadium, or badging into work effortless, the Seattle company said.

“The service is designed to be highly secure and uses custom-built algorithms and hardware to create a person’s unique palm signature,” said Dilip Kumar, VP of physical retail and technology for Amazon, in a blog post.

Currently, the technology is available at two Amazon Go locations in Seattle—its original Amazon Go at Seventh and Blanchard and its South Lake Union location—but the company indicates “more locations coming soon” on its website.

“We’ll start in select Amazon Go stores, where Amazon One will be added to the store’s entry gate as a convenient choice for customers to use to enter the store to shop,” continued Kumar. “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.”

And sign up is fast, according to Amazon, which says it takes less than a minute to sign up at either of the two Seattle Amazon Go stores using an Amazon One device. After inserting a credit card, shoppers hover their palms over the device and follow the prompts to associate that card with their unique palm signature. Shoppers have the option to enroll with just one palm or both. Once enrolled, users can hold their palm above the Amazon One device for store entry and payment.

“Beyond Amazon Go, we expect to add Amazon One as an option in additional Amazon stores in the coming months. And we believe Amazon One has broad applicability beyond our retail stores, so 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,” Kumar said.

Amazon said it decided on palm recognition for the privacy and contactless experience it provides, as well as the control shoppers have in when and where they use the service.

With regard to privacy, Kumar said, “We take data security and privacy seriously, and any sensitive data is treated in accordance with our long-standing policies. With this in mind, we designed Amazon One to be highly secure. For example, the Amazon One device is protected by multiple security controls and palm images are never stored on the Amazon One device. Rather, the images are encrypted and sent to a highly secure area we custom-built in the cloud where we create your palm signature.”

At the two Amazon Go locations launching Amazon One on Sept. 29, shoppers will still have the option to enter the stores using the Amazon Go app, Amazon app or with associate assistance if paying in cash is preferred.


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