Amazon’s naked payments system is now being used at 50 locations in the US, and the company is looking to get more customers signed up by offering a $10 credit incentive.
The company first unveiled the Amazon One last autumn. It’s essentially a payment terminal with a built-in biometric palm scanner. A customer who links a payment account to their palm biometrics can make a purchase simply by waving their hand over the device.
The Amazon One is part of an emerging trend in payments innovation, with other, smaller rivals taking a similar approach with alternative biometric modalities. FinGo, for example, has been making a name for itself with a naked payments system that lets customers link payment accounts to their fingerprint biometrics.
The aim is to let customers make a purchase without the need for any kind of physical payment token or hardware – no cash, card, or smartphone required.
Amazon’s solution has the benefit of being touchless, which could prove to be more appealing to customers in the wake of the pandemic. Earlier this year, when Amazon was starting to roll out the solution to select Whole Foods stores, the company indicated that thousands of people had already signed up for Amazon One accounts.
Now, it’s offering a $10 promotional credit to new Amazon One registrants. Customers need only to sign up at a participating store and to link (or create) an Amazon account in order to receive the credit.
The promotional campaign is already being met with unease by some privacy advocates, with the executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project describing it as “horrifying” to TechCrunch, which broke the news about the promotional offer. Amazon has provoked some considerable skepticism among civil rights groups with its other biometric effort, Rekognition, a facial recognition system that the company has sold to law enforcement agencies. With respect to Amazon One, there are concerns about how Amazon will use customers’ data.
For its part, Amazon says that it stores participating customers’ data in a “highly secure” part of the cloud, and that customers can ask the company to delete their Amazon One data if they want to stop using the service. The data will also be deleted automatically if a customer doesn’t use Amazon One for a period of two years, Amazon says.