Amazon brings palm recognition to Go stores

Offices and sports stadiums could follow, the retail giant says.
29 September 2020
  • Amazon One will let customers enter two Go store and pay for goods with their palm
  • It’s a step forward for biometric payments, which the retail giant hopes to roll out to other retailers, offices, and sports arenas

Amazon has launched new palm recognition technology in two of its Go stores in its home town, Seattle. 

Customers at the stores near its campus can flash their palm over the new hardware, allowing them to enter the store and pay for goods. The idea is to continue evolving Amazon’s “effortless” shopping experience, with the Amazon One becoming an alternate payment or loyalty card option with a device at the checkout counter next to a traditional point of sale system. 

The e-commerce giant is also eyeing its potential in providing quick and contactless entry into offices and sports arenas, and other areas which are now becoming reliant on contactless technology to reduce contact and quicken entry. 

Source: Amazon One

Explaining how customers can begin using Amazon One palm recognition hardware in a blog post, Dilip Kumar, Amazon’s physical retail head, said: “The first step is to insert your credit card. Next, hover your palm over the device and follow the prompts to associate that card with the unique palm signature being built for you by our computer vision technology in real-time. You’ll have the option to enroll with just one palm or both. And that’s it — you’re now signed up.”

Enrolled customers can then use the system to enter the stores, by holding their palm above the device at entry “for about a second or so.”

Amazon says it selected palm recognition due to its privacy advantages over other biometric technologies — unlike facial recognition, you can’t determine a person’s identity by looking at their palm. It also requires an intentional gesture, so customers have control and when and where they use the service. 

The rise of biometric payments 

Juniper Research predicts mobile biometrics will authenticate US$2 trillion worth of in-store and remote mobile payment transactions annually by 2023, a natural continuation of the massively popular and ubiquitous Apple Pay and Google Pay. 

Amazon’s palm-vein technology takes this to a new level, eliminating the need for cash, cards, and even personal devices for payments. The technology could be adopted feasibly in places like coffee shops, fast food joints, and other places where speed and convenience pay off.