Photo by Christian Wiediger via Unsplash

Whether you’re paying by cash, card or even your phone, there is a new way to pay at Amazon stores. In select stores in the D.C. area, Amazon unveiled its pay-by-palm technology—known as Amazon One—allowing customers to pay with the scan of a palm.

According to its website, Amazon One is the “fast, convenient, contactless identity service that uses your palm–just hover to enter, identify, and pay.”

The Amazon One system was announced in Sept. 2020 and has been installed in select Amazon stores in New York and Washington D.C. 

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Amazon One was first installed in two Amazon stores in Seattle. Bethesda’s Amazon Book Store is the first to have Amazon One in the D.C. area. Additionally, the technology will be rolled out in other Amazon stores in the D.C. area such as the Amazon 4-star in Montgomery Mall in Maryland as well as more stores in New York. 

To get started, customers would need to enter their credit card into the palm-reading Amazon One device found at select Amazon stores or kiosks and a phone number. Customers would then move and hover their palm over the reader as the device scans it, creating a unique palm signature. An Amazon account is not required to sign up. The website claims that signing up in stores takes less than a minute

Developers of Amazon One chose palm recognition because of its higher security. They conclude that palm recognition is more private than other biometric alternatives because the palm is more unique in that one’s identity cannot be discovered from an image of their palm. 

The Amazon One device works by scanning the unique, intricate details of the palm. Additionally, developers conclude that because of its contactless nature, customers will appreciate palm recognition.. 

Customers who no longer want to use Amazon One will be able to delete their biometric data either through the device or on the online customer portal. 

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Palm recognition biometrics is not new. Companies over the years have experimented with it, but Amazon hopes to push palm recognition into the retail world. While Amazon One was unveiled during the pandemic, it was not created in response to it as the company has been working on this service for years and has applied to patent palm recognition technology in 2019.

The innovators of Amazon One also addressed security risks customers may have about the technology. According to the About Amazon website

“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.” 

In the long term, Amazon plans to extend its Amazon One technology to other third-party companies in hopes of growing consumer convenience as interested businesses are able to contact the Amazon One sales team. Moreover, the company hopes to integrate Amazon into existing entry points for individuals to access locations easier and quicker. 

Scriberr News reached out to Whole Foods Market Interbay in Seattle Washington, a store that has Amazon One, but did not hear back by press deadline. 

Scriberr News reached out to Bethesda’s Amazon Book Store but declined to comment. 

Written ByVivian Kwang

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