The winter of 2020-21 saw three retailers deploy innovative, touch-free methods for customers to make in-store and online payments.
Perhaps not coincidentally during a season that saw tragically high rates of COVID-19 transmission, Amazon, Hudson’s Bay, and Alltown all launched or expanded the use of technologies that enable contactless payment. However, beyond increased hygiene, all of these wintertime deployments also offer greater omnichannel convenience and security.
Let’s look more closely at some payment innovations that helped warm up a long, dark winter.
Initially introduced at two Seattle-area Amazon Go stores in September 2020, 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. Over the past few months, Amazon has been gradually adding Amazon One payment at select Amazon Go, Amazon Go Grocery, Amazon Books and Amazon 4-star stores in and around Seattle.
To sign up for Amazon One, first customers insert their credit card in an in-store Amazon One device or kiosk. Next, they hover their palm over the device and enter their mobile phone number to complete sign-up.
Since no two palms are exactly alike, customers can register both palms. In seconds, a process of proprietary imaging and computer vision algorithms capture and encrypt a customer’s palm image. Amazon One uses the information embedded in a customer’s palm to create a unique palm signature that it can read every time the customer uses it.
Canadian department store retailer Hudson’s Bay is introducing a new, digitally-integrated Mastercard, powered by digital financial services provider Neo Financial. The card will offer no annual or over-limit fees, cash back on everyday purchases, and enhanced service support through a customized app.
Customers will be able to apply and open an account in minutes from their phone, and the card will include enhanced service and safety features that include utilizing a phone’s facial recognition technology directly through the Neo Financial app. In minutes, customers may be approved, load their card to their digital wallet, and immediately start making purchases.
As part of this offering, Hudson’s Bay will introduce tap-and-go contactless payment at its cash desks later this year. Other card features will include proactive security alerts and notifications; as well as the ability to freeze or replace a card and turn off online transactions, directly from the app.
Alltown, which operates over 70 convenience stores across New England, is now offering direct payment for fuel via mobile device at all 30 of its gas stations in Massachusetts. The retailer is utilizing PayByCar, a payment solution that enables consumers to purchase gas from their car without handling cash, a credit or debit card, or a mobile app.
PayByCar recognizes the E-ZPass electronic toll transponder (used by 35 million consumers in 17 states) of a customer’s car and sends a text to their smartphone. Customers then reply with the pump number and PayByCar automatically turns that pump on, registers the transaction, charges a pre-enrolled payment card, and sends an e-receipt. Customers who do not have an E-ZPass toll transponder can use PayByCar’s own non-toll sticker to enroll.