Amazon’s palm-scanning Amazon One payment technology has been in testing since 2020 and now is ready to expand to all of its 500+ Whole Foods stores in the U.S.
The palm-payment system works by having a customer place their palm above a biometric reader. It then matches the palm signature with a payment card already on file. What this means for the consumer is that you won’t need to have a wallet or phone with you to make a purchase. Just wave your palm over the scanner and walk out the door.
This isn’t a new concept, but now it is getting wider distribution. With Amazon One, the company is promoting to consumers that it can handle all their transactions without using any devices – all that’s needed is your hand.
Amazon One technology has been in place at 400 locations in the U.S. and has handled more than 3 million transactions to date. Some sports stadiums, entertainment venues, retailers, and more have used the system. To use it, consumers just have to pre-enroll via the Web at Amazon One’s site or in a Whole Foods store.
And of course the palm-scanning isn’t just about improving the customer experience. Amazon also gains more data about customers in both online and in-store purchases. Amazon One has also been embroiled in privacy debates about its use and concerns about misuse by law enforcement agencies.
How will you pay?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Poll students: Has anyone used palm-scanning while shopping? What has been their experience.
- Divide students into teams. Have each team list the positive and negative factors for using palm-screening for consumers. What are the positive and negative factors for businesses?
- Show Amazon’s information page about the scanning: https://one.amazon.com/how-it-works
- Play a video showing how to register and use palm-scanning: https://youtu.be/HR6ERtcT6bg?si=_RMnZqjIpgYmoZdX
- Also check the site for Amazon One locations in your geography. If there are any, consider having students shop at those locations to try the scanners and get their feedback.
- Have each team develop three different promotional tactics to ease consumer fears about the technology use.
Source: Mims, C. (11 August 2023). Amazon wants you to pay with your palm. It’s a sneak attack on Apple and Google. Wall Street Journal; Perez, S. (20 July 2023). Amazon’s palm-scanning payment technology is coming to all 500+ Whole Foods. TechCrunch.com