Amazon considers palm biometrics for touchless in-store payments, tests terminal transactions with Visa
Amazon is working on linking users’ hands to credit card information to enable palm biometric payments at checkout terminals, reports the Wall Street Journal. Amazon did not comment on the news; however, rumors say the company is looking to partner with coffee shops and fast-food restaurants for pilots.
According to a patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in December, Amazon’s touchless scanning system would establish shopper identity by analyzing their palm features such as wrinkles and veins. The terminals would be used for Amazon Go or Whole Foods shoppers.
In September, Amazon tested biometric hand geometry recognition for vending machines at its New York offices.
Although the project is in early stage, Amazon partnered with Visa to run payment tests on the terminals and is rumored to be discussing a collaboration with Mastercard. JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Synchrony Financial have allegedly shown interest in partnering with Amazon for this project.
Card issuers and networks have concerns that Amazon will have to address, specifically related to fraud detection, as consumers will have to hand over more personal information, and regulatory compliance.
One of the possible implementations has customers inserting their debit or credit cards in a terminal that will then scan their hands. After that, whenever a payment is required, users would have to just place their hand over the terminal to complete the transaction.
Data such as when and where consumers shopped would be sent to Amazon’s cloud for the tech company to allegedly connect with consumer spending behavior on Amazon.com. WSJ predicts Amazon would use this information to predict customer behavior and charge advertisers more money.
Amazon pitched its Amazon Pay digital wallet project to bricks-and-mortar stores, but it was not widely accepted as companies feared they would lose customers to Amazon. Similarly, payment companies fear tech companies tapping into the financial industry could jeopardize their business in the long run.
On the other hand, card issues fear fraud such as crooks linking their hands to stolen credit cards would be hard to detect. Amazon is looking into methods to prevent the system’s fraudulent use and how to add and switch between multiple accounts linked to their palms.