Amazon’s Palm-Scanning Payment Technology Arrives at Whole Foods

Amazon’s latest technological innovation to enable customers to enter quickly, identify themselves, and pay for grocery purchases by scanning the palm of their hand, will be available at Whole Foods Market stores.

Amazon One is a device that evaluates multiple aspects of the customer’s palm, analyzes them with its vision technology, and selects the most distinctive identifiers to create a palm signature linked to a credit card. The shopper then places its palm on the sensor to pay for its purchase.

Dilip Kumar, vice president, Physical Retail and Technology at Amazon, wrote in a blog post about expanding the new technology to allow shoppers to pay by scanning their palms at several Whole Foods stores in Seattle to push it to a broader group of customers.

Amazon scanner palm
Courtesy Amazon Blog

According to Kumar, after introducing the Amazon One service last September, it was added as an entry and payment option at several Amazon stores in the Seattle area, including Amazon Go, Amazon Go Grocery, Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star, and Amazon Pop Up.

“Thousands of customers have signed up for the service, and feedback has been great; customers have shared they appreciate how quick it is to enroll and use, and that its contactless nature has been helpful in our current environment,” said Kumar.

Customers who have never used Amazon One before can sign up at any Amazon One kiosk or device at participating stores, and enrollment takes less than a minute. They will have the option to sign up with just one palm or both.

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“At Whole Foods Market, we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the shopping experience for our customers,” said Arun Rajan, senior vice president of technology and chief technology officer at Whole Foods Market.

On concerns expressed by experts about security risks that customers’ private information could be exposed, Kumar assures in the blog that they designed Amazon One with data security and privacy in mind.

“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 for Amazon One in the cloud where we create your palm signature,” said Kumar.

The new contactless palm payment method is initially available at the Whole Foods store on Madison Broadway in Seattle. In the coming months, stores in West Seattle, Interbay, Westlake, Kirkland, Lynnwood, Roosevelt Square, and Redmond are planning to add it as an option.

Amazon also expects to offer the device and its other contactless payment technology systems to other grocery retailers.