Amazon launches palm scanner in Whole Foods stores


Amazon is taking another step in the development of its payment system using a palm scanner: the 'Amazon One' was already trialled in a pilot project in some Amazon Fresh stores, but now the technology is also being tested in a few Whole Foods supermarkets.


Previously at Amazon Fresh

Amazon is installing the payment system in seven Whole Foods stores in Seattle. This will allow customers to pay simply by scanning one or both hands, as each palm is unique due to its particular veins and wrinkles. Customers can link their palm to a payment card using a dedicated scanner.


By no means is Whole Foods a pioneer within the Amazon empire: the scanner first appeared in an Amazon Fresh store last year, also in Seattle. Since then, the company has also experimented with the technology in several other physical store concepts, such as Amazon Books, Amazon 4-Star and Amazon Pop-Up.


According to the company, customers do not have to worry about the system's security: the data of the palm and the associated payment card are kept separate from other customer data. "Multiple security controls protect the Amazon One, and palm images are not stored on the Amazon One device," Amazon states. "The images are encrypted and stored in a highly secured environment that we created specifically in the cloud."


"Safer than facial recognition"

Amazon argues this approach is better than other biometric payment systems such as facial recognition technology, which are gaining popularity, particularly in China. According to the company, it is impossible to recognise someone based on the palm of their hand, which should reduce the risks of identity fraud. 


Amazon intends to make the technology available to third-party retailers in a later phase. These trial phases in the various store concepts should prove the reliability of the palm scanners.