Amazon puts payment in the palm of your hand

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Amazon puts payment in the palm of your hand

By Dan Berthiaume - 09/29/2020

The new Amazon One contactless payment device will make shopping at Amazon Go stores faster and more secure.

Amazon One is a proprietary technology designed to let customers use their unique palm signature to pay or present a loyalty card at a store, as well as perform activities like enter a stadium or badge into work. The solution uses custom-built algorithms and hardware to create a person’s unique palm signature, and is being launched as an entry option Sept. 29 at two Amazon Go stores in Seattle.

To sign up for Amazon One, first customers insert your credit card in the device. Next, they hover their palm over the device and follow the prompts to associate that card with the unique palm signature being built by the device’s computer vision technology in real time. Customers have the option to enroll with one palm or both. That completes the sign-up process.

Once customers have enrolled, they can enter Amazon One-enabled Amazon Go stores by holding their palm above the Amazon One device at entry for about a second or so. Beyond Amazon Go, the retailer expects to add Amazon One as an option in additional Amazon stores in the coming months, and plans to offer the service to third parties like retailers, stadiums, and office buildings.

The technology evaluates multiple aspects of a customer’s palm. No two palms are alike, so Amazon One analyzes all these aspects with its vision technology and selects the most distinct identifiers on a palm to create a unique palm signature. 

Amazon One is protected by multiple security controls and palm images are never stored on the device, but are encrypted and sent to a secure area Amazon custom-built in the cloud where it creates palm signatures. Customers can request to delete data associated with Amazon One through the device itself or via the Amazon One online customer portal (one.amazon.com).

“As with everything Amazon does, we started with the customer experience and worked backwards,” Dilip Kumar, VP, Amazon physical retail, said in a corporate blog post. “We selected palm recognition for a few important reasons. One reason was that palm recognition is considered more private than some biometric alternatives because you can’t determine a person’s identity by looking at an image of their palm. It also requires someone to make an intentional gesture by holding their palm over the device to use. And it’s contactless, which we think customers will appreciate, especially in current times.”