Amazon is extending its palm-reading payment tech to more US stores

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Amazon is many things — they’re one of the largest companies in the world, they’re a less-than-pleasant employer, and they’re also home to some seriously futuristic (some might say dystopian) tech. Amazon One is a little bit of both, a payment system that’s straight out of the future and a little scary. And it’s heading to more stores in the States.

Putting a price on Amazon

You might be familiar with Amazon Go, the online retail giant’s experimental stores that let you wander in, select your goods and wander out. The company has pioneered other similar technologies, including the Dash Cart (which scans what you’ve bought so you can load your cart and then leave) and then Amazon One.

This is a palm-sensing payment technology that lets users register a palm-print and tie it to a payment system — like your bank or credit card. Upon completion of your purchase, you wave your hand over a sensor and the payment is authorised. First launched in September 2020, the technology is now being rolled out to stores that don’t carry the web giant’s branding — like wholly-owned subsidiary Whole Foods.

Actually setting up the function is similar to scanning a fingerprint for your smartphone. There’s a reader in stores where users insert the payment method they’ll be linking. Then, the user’s palm is scanned (both may be scanned, for redundancy’s sake) and then, payment and palm are linked. It’s not substantially different from using biometrics to authorise payments while using a banking app, only it’s happening out in stores. American stores, for the meantime, but still in stores.

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