Cashless payments are now more preferred for safety measures but not all options are convenient. Amazon One is hoping to provide the most urgent and effective solution for such demands.
Ever wished that you can pay for something with just a wave of your hand? Many might never have thought of it before but the idea can be quite promising. Especially nowadays when all kinds of interactions and points of contact with others are significantly risky due to the coronavirus.
This is why cashless payments are gaining a lot of traction lately. More and more people are now opting to use digital means of payments when transacting in-store and in person instead of handing cash or cards. By doing so, you’ll lessen the risk of touching something that others already touched which can also reduce the chances of contracting the virus.
Unfortunately, digital payments can still be a bit fussy. The need to enter the payment details can be a bit time consuming and complicated for some. It’s not as efficient as it can be when shopping online as the process can take a while with spotty data and wi-fi connections. It can also be a challenge for the less tech-savvy, among other things.
If you can pay for your in-store purchases like your groceries with just a wave of your hand, however, things will be a lot simpler and more convenient. You don’t really need to carry cards or cash anymore with this method and you don’t have to take forever putting in and double-checking details. You’ll just need to put your hands against a sensor and you’re good to go.
This is what Amazon has in mind with the Amazon One. With this cashless payment option, customers can enjoy the utmost convenience for payments.
Amazon One: A Handy Payment Option
Announced in early October, Amazon One is one of the most promising cashless payment options launched as of late. It eliminates the need for any other kind of device or object as proof of a person’s identity to be used for payments. By just using the unique traits of the palm of your hand, it can make payments quicker, safer, and easier.
Amazon One is defined as a biometric technology that will allow shoppers to pay at stores using just the palm of their hand. It works by placing one’s hand over the sensor which will then pick up the unique patterns of the veins under your skin. This works as an effective tool for identification as everyone has a different vein pattern. You don’t need to touch anything with this process as the scanner will not require you to place your palm directly against its surface. It will work even when your hand is hovering a few inches above it.
It will still use a payment card upon registering for the service but after that one time where you’ll only need to insert your card in a terminal, you won’t need to take it out of your purse or wallet anymore. Your hand will already be enough to deal with the amount that you need to settle.
The tech has already been rolled out in Amazon Go cashier-less convenience stores in Seattle. There are also rumors that it will also be available in Whole Foods stores in the future. Amazon aims to partner with more retailers, too, to make this service available everywhere just like their “Just Walk Out” tech.
While impressive, the technology is not necessarily new. Biometric scanning tech has been around for decades already but Amazon One is taking it to new heights. By associating it with other personal details, it is showing great potential not just for cashless payments but for other identification processes as well. According to Amazon, they are also hoping to use the tech as a replacement for tickets for sporting and music events. This transforms the product into a form of identity tech.
Amazon One is not just a convenient and timely product, however. It can also be an effective way for Amazon to further diversify its portfolio. If it gets to sell this product to local retailers, it will have a slice of the pie in the physical realm of retail. While Amazon already cornered 40% of the e-commerce market, the wide use of this new tech will let them tap a new segment of the general retail market.
Privacy Concerns at Hand
While the tech is very promising there are serious privacy concerns over this biometric tech. Forgery may be difficult but using this tech still means that users will need to hand scans of their palms to Amazon. It might seem too personal of detail to give out even if it can make things a lot simpler for shoppers.
It’s also worth mentioning that Amazon has a sketchy past when it comes to personal data. They did admit that they will collect user information on where their customers will use their service, especially once it’s already in use in other retail stores. However, they claim that they will not know what the purchases will be or how much money they spend on third-party retail stores. They also claim that they do not have any plans on using the information they’ll collect from third-party retailers.
Who Will Bear the Palm?
The concept behind Amazon One seems to be a very sound one but it’s still a toss-up whether shoppers are willing to give out very personal information for their convenience. It’s also worth asking if other retailers will be willing to let Amazon in on the physical retail game in whatever form. Guess we’ll see how things will turn out soon enough.