Amazon is expanding its palm-scanning payment system to a Whole Foods store in Seattle, the company announced Wednesday, the first of many planned rollouts at other locations.
Amazon One, which debuted in September and is currently in use at about a dozen Amazon physical stores, allows shoppers to pay for items by placing their palm over a scanning device. The first time shoppers use the kiosk, they have to insert a credit card to link it with their palm print. But after that, shoppers can pay simply by holding their hand over the kiosk.
Amazon One is distinct from the company’s Just Walk Out technology, which allows shoppers to pick up items and walk out of the store without going through a checkout line. However the two technologies can work together, and Amazon employs them both at its cashierless Amazon Go stores.
Amazon will initially roll out Amazon One at the Whole Foods in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, not far from the company’s headquarters, before launching the system at seven Seattle-area Whole Foods in coming months.
The palm-scanning technology will be offered as just one of many payment options at participating Whole Foods stores, Amazon said, and won’t impact store employees’ job responsibilities.
Amazon acquired the grocery chain in 2017 for more than $13 billion.
Amazon has said it hopes to sell the palm-scanning technology to other companies like retailers, stadiums and office buildings. Last September, Amazon said it was in “active discussions with several potential customers.”
It’s unclear whether Amazon has signed any agreements with third parties interested in using the system. The company says thousands of people have signed up to use it at Amazon stores.
As Amazon has sought to expand and validate palm-scanning technology as a form of payment, privacy and security experts have also raised concerns around the dangers of shoppers’ handing over biometric data to companies.
Amazon has maintained that it designed the system to be “highly secure” and that it considers palm-scanning technology to be more private than other biometric alternatives like facial recognition.