Amazon’s palm-reading payment technology will expand to dozens of Whole Foods locations across California. Shoppers will be able to pay for groceries by scanning the palm of their hand at checkout devices instead of using cash or card, as this is more evidence of the emergence of a cashless society.
The Verge reported that 65 Whole Foods stores in California would soon get the new payment technology. This is the most extensive rollout by the e-commerce giant since announcing the payment system in 2020.
“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 Verge said.
Amazon One has been pilot tested at Whole Foods stores in Los Angeles, Austin, Seattle, and New York. Amazon said customers had found the new payment system more convenient to checkout, though privacy concerns emerged last year by a group of lawmakers who raised questions about the megacorporation collecting biometric data of its customers.
A group of senators in 2021 sent Amazon CEO Andy Jassy a letter for more details about how it scans palm prints.
Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Jon Ossoff (D-GA) asked Jassy if Amazon plans to expand its biometric payment system and if the data collected will allow the company to increase the effectiveness of targeted ads.
“Amazon’s expansion of biometric data collection through Amazon One raises serious questions about Amazon’s plans for this data and its respect for user privacy, including about how Amazon may use the data for advertising and tracking purposes,” the senators wrote in the letter.
Amazon One appears to be ushering in a cashless society where a customer’s body is becoming a transactional tool.
Amazon has successfully provided customers with a convenient lifestyle through high-tech devices (think of Alexa smart speakers and Ring smart cameras), but the only tradeoff is that the company harvests user data for advertisement purposes.