Palm and face biometric payments see more rollouts, plus a lawsuit in New York
Music fans attending Michigan’s Pine Knob music festival will be able to use biometric technology to get their drinks faster, courtesy of TendedBar.
The Florida-based startup, launched in 2014, provides an automated bar service for events and festivals, utilizing biometric payments using facial recognition provided by computer vision firm Trueface, which it partnered with in January 2022.
The company’s offering has previously been employed at Professional Golf Association’s (PGA’s) Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, at the Jacksonville Jaguars games at Daily’s Place, and at the Vyster Memorial Arena.
Back in January 2022, TendedBar received a $5 million funding round led by Base Capital to expand their operation into concert, entertainment, and sports venues across America.
North Carolina convenience store Energy Mart is set to deploy Amazon One’s palm-based payments technology across seven of its stores.
2023 has seen many third-party retailers adopt the tech giant’s biometric payments technology. In March, American bakery chain Panera added the Amazon One palm vein biometrics solution to its MyPanera loyalty program, initially rolling it out at two of its St. Louis stores, with plans to expand the partnership wider down the line.
At least 65 Amazon-owned Whole Food stores in California are set to install palm-payment electronics, with new terminals in locations such as the San Francisco Bay Area, Orange County, Santa Cruz, Malibu, Santa Monica and Sacramento on the horizon.
It is not just the U.S. that is seeing new implementations of palm-based payments. Beijing Subway is set to implement these on the high-speed Daxing International Airport Line, using tech from WeChat Pay, Global Times reports. The fully automated and driverless subway line connects the urban area of Beijing to the Beijing Daxing International Airport. We have already seen these types of palm-based biometric payments being used in the subway of Shenzhen, in South China’s Guangdong Province, though the roll-out was limited.
Passengers will need to first upload their palm print, before connecting it to their personal phone numbers and ID using the WeChat mini program.
Not everyone seems to be a fan of the increased rollout of biometrics in some quarters.
Officials at a New York Council hearing addressed questions surrounding the private uses of biometrics in the city earlier this month, Gothamist writes.
The following day, privacy advocates filed a legal complaint alleging Starbucks-Amazon Go stores in the city are capturing palm biometrics for payments, as well as other biometric data, without meeting the informed consent requirements.
The use of biometrics by private companies has attracted significant controversy within New York. Amazon was recently hit by a class action lawsuit making similar allegations.
Concerns about public biometrics policy also came to the fore during a recent hearing to discuss two new bills limiting private sector biometrics use. The city’s newly formed Office of Technology and Innovation concluded that the use of biometrics by private companies is outside of their remit, as are implementations by housing, homeless, and children’s services agencies.
A write-up in PaymentsJournal argues that though many retail chains such as Whole Foods and Starbucks are adopting biometrics concerns still remain among consumers. The write-up highlighted the negative perception among customers that “something won’t work,” leaving them holding up the line or waving their palms at the checkout. It also highlighted a trend among millennials of using cash to help them budget, highlighted by research from Credello.