Amazon Doubles Down on Palm-Scanning Payments

(Photo via Amazon Press Center)
(Photo via Amazon Press Center)

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Cross my palm with silver… actually don’t bother with the silver.

Amazon announced on Thursday that it’s rolling out Amazon One, technology that lets you pay for things by simply waving your palm over a scanner, to all of its 500-plus Whole Foods locations.

That’s Handy

Amazon One first launched in September 2020, but the rollout has been slow. The way it works is: You scan your palm on a device that maps the veins and bones inside (so goth), and the scan is then linked to an account with a credit card on it. On your next trip to Whole Foods, you place your hand over the scanner and boop, you just bought some Twinkies.

At the moment, Amazon One is only available in about 200 Whole Foods stores plus some cashierless Amazon Go grocery stores. Making it ubiquitous at Whole Foods suggests Amazon might be looking to normalize the tech, which it can leverage into a business opportunity:

  • Amazon has sold Amazon One to third parties. In March, Panera Bread announced it’d be the first restaurant chain to use the scanner, and in May, Coors Field in Denver adopted the tech both for payment and age-verification for baseball fans buying alcohol.
  • Amazon One has marketed itself as an ID system to venues in the past, but its progress was somewhat hampered by privacy concerns around its use of biometrics. In March 2022, Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver canceled its plans to use Amazon One following pressure from privacy activists and artists.

Cereal Offender: Amazon is a force of nature in e-commerce, but it still gets things wrong now and then. This week, a British man received what should have been an Amazon package containing his new laptop, but inside was two boxes of Weetabix, a sort of oaty-breakfast-cereal brick favored by Brits. Well, except when they were expecting a laptop.