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Amazon wants you to pay with a wave of your hand

On Tuesday, the company introduced Amazon One, which links the palm print to a stored credit card so you can place your hand over a sensor to enter and purchase items at the checkout without Amazon (AMZN) Go to the shops. (Typically, visitors use a code on their smartphone to open electronic gates within these stores.)

Initially, the feature will be available in two Amazon Go stores in Seattle, and the company plans to add it in the coming months to other Amazon Go stores, distributed in Seattle, San Francisco, New York and Chicago. Amazon plans to take it to other retailers, and perhaps places like offices and stadiums, in the future.

Dilip Kumar, Amazon̵
7;s vice president of physical retail and technology, told CNN Business that Amazon One had been in the works long before the pandemic. But the timing could be good for Amazon: Customers may find this contactless entry and payment technology convenient, and even businesses, increasingly seeking technological solutions to tackle the pandemic, may find it tempting.
Yet the idea of ​​handing biometric data to one of the largest retailers in the United States could raise eyebrows as well. Amazon has previously been criticized by privacy advocates who are concerned about its facial recognition software. Amazon said in June that it would temporarily stop selling its Rekognition software to the police. When it comes to Amazon One data, Kumar said the company doesn’t store any information locally on store entry scanners. All palm images are encrypted and Amazon stores them online.

The company purposely chose palm recognition over another biometric because it can be paired very accurately and a customer has to make a deliberate gesture to use it, he said.

“I encourage people to try it, see how they like the experience and then go from there,” Kumar said.

Amazon One, which is not to be confused with the company’s first aircraft, also called Amazon One, is the latest offering in a decade-long effort to make shopping faster and more convenient. His arrival had been anticipated.

Before trying it, users need to insert a credit card into an Amazon One device and hold a palm on top of it, facing down, so it can be scanned. In an effort to make the system as accurate as possible, Kumar said, a camera takes multiple images of the fine lines and ridges of the palm and captures some subcutaneous details, such as veins, that aren’t as visible in typical photographs.

After signing up, a user holds their palm over an Amazon One scanner to enter the store. Then, anything they take will automatically be charged to the credit card attached to their palm. Users should be able to use the same palm to enter and shop at multiple stores, Kumar said. At first, users will be able to link a credit card to one or both palms; Eventually, Kumar said, there may be an option to assign a credit card to each palm.

Amazon One is currently available in two Amazon Go stores in Seattle, at 7th Avenue and Blanchard Street, and in the South Lake Union neighborhood. Amazon is not yet saying when it will be available at other retailers, nor how much it will charge other companies to use the technology.

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