13 September 2019 – 08:57 by
Online retailer Amazon is expanding its ambitions to enter the bricks and mortar market by offering biometric-powered payments in a handful of stores in America, according to the Times.
The integration of checkout hardware that can scan the hands of customers, and use this to verify their identity and then charge their Amazon account based on the amount of goods they are buying at supermarkets operated under the Whole Foods brand, is a step forwards for the firm.
There are a few caveats, including the fact that this system will only be available to those who are willing to sign up to the Prime subscription service, which also includes free next-day delivery for products ordered via safe shopping online.
Some customers will no doubt be cautious about the concept of having to hand over biometric data specifically relating to their finger and palm prints to Amazon. Interestingly enough, this technology is actually not based on the unique lines etched into every person’s hands, but rather on the specific dimensions of the hand itself, which might allay some fears.
Amazon claims that there will be plenty of benefits associated with the system, including the improved convenience at the checkout. While paying by card takes four seconds on average, the hand-scanning solution can complete a transaction in just 0.3 seconds.
Whether this technology will be introduced in the UK, where a total of eight different Whole Foods outlets are operating at the moment, remains to be seen. It could even be possible for Amazon to introduce similar biometric scanning abilities to its online shopping service, which would give customers a different way to identify themselves and confirm orders without having to dig out their payment cards and enter personal details painstakingly whenever they want to order.