Amazon’s palm-scanning technology is expanding to 65 Whole Foods locations across California. The checkout devices were introduced in 2020 as part of the Amazon One payment service, allowing customers to pay with a scan of their palm. This is the biggest rollout by the company yet, with the first new Whole Foods locations adding support today in Malibu, Montana Avenue, and Santa Monica.
Customers can set up Amazon One by registering their palm print using a kiosk or at a point-of-sale station at participating stores. To register, you need to provide a payment card and phone number, agree to Amazon’s terms of service, and share an image of your palms. Once completed, you can take items to checkout and not have to take out your wallet — or even your phone. A hover of your hand over the device is all that’s needed to pay and leave.
The Amazon One rollout is part of the company’s campaign to change how customers interact at retail stores and runs alongside its Just Walk Out-enabled stores with technologies that make it faster to pay. Amazon One is designed to identify you accurately and allow you to pay at Amazon-owned stores, but the company is looking to expand the technology to outside businesses as well.
Several Whole Foods locations have already been testing the palm-scanning tech in the LA area as well in Austin, Seattle, and New York. It’s also been available at the company’s Amazon Style store in Glendale and at select Amazon Go and Fresh stores.
Amazon states that the images taken on the kiosk aren’t stored locally; instead, they are encrypted and then sent to a cloud server that is dedicated to Amazon One, where an identifiable palm signature is generated. My colleague James Vincent wrote more about how the technology works and its concerns in 2020.
Amazon has found success in convincing millions of customers to provide them with data in exchange for a more convenient lifestyle. Things like online shopping, grocery shopping, using Alexa, Ring smart cameras, doorbells, and now room-mapping robot vacuum cleaners are all areas that Amazon collects data in, and that will continue to be a concern to privacy advocates.