We’re still in the midst of a pandemic, which means it’s important to take precautions against catching or spreading COVID-19. We’ve all made helpful changes — things like washing our hands regularly, disinfecting our homes and workplaces, or wearing masks.
Some of us have even incorporated new tech into our daily lives to cut down on risks. Contactless pay went from a niche option in larger markets to a common method of completing a transaction in all markets across the nation. Need help setting up contactless pay? Tap or click here to find out how.
Until recently, digital wallet options for making contactless payments were pretty limited. Sure, there have always been trusted methods like Apple Pay or Google Pay to pick from, but what about people looking for safer options? Well, Amazon is rolling out another way to make contactless payments, and it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Let’s take a look.
What is Amazon One?
After months of testing, Amazon is rolling out Amazon One, a new contactless payment method you can use to make purchases without having to touch point-of-sale stations or hand over your credit card or cash to a cashier.
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Here’s the thing, though. Amazon One doesn’t work like Apple or Google Pay, which use your smart device to complete purchases. It uses a completely new method of contactless payment instead: your palm. All you have to do is wave your hand over the reader and it will recognize your unique palm signature and complete the transaction.
Is that safe? Well, yes. Amazon One is designed to be highly secure. It uses custom-built algorithms and hardware to create a person’s unique palm signature. You can’t really replicate unique markings on someone’s palm, which would make it tough for someone else to impersonate you during transactions.
According to Amazon, that’s the reason it chose this type of technology. Palm recognition is considered more private than some biometric alternatives, in large part because you can’t determine a person’s identity just by looking at an image of their palm.
This type of tech also requires someone to make an intentional gesture — in this case, that means holding their palm over the Amazon One reader. Plus, it’s completely contactless, which is an obvious perk, given the risks that come with this pandemic.
The device is also protected by multiple security controls, and users’ palm images are never stored on the Amazon One device. The images are encrypted and sent to a highly secure area Amazon custom-built in the cloud instead, meaning your data can’t be stolen from the device by clever crooks.
Itching to check out Amazon One? Well, it will make its initial debut at a couple of Amazon Go stores, but plans are to eventually expand the tech into other places, too.
Starting today, though, you can use Amazon One as an entry option at two Amazon Go stores in Seattle — the original Amazon Go store at 7th & Blanchard as well as the South Lake Union location at 300 Boren Ave. North.
Amazon has plans to sell Amazon One technology to other retailers, offices, and stadiums, but it won’t be in place any time soon. So for now, you’ll have to get your fill of Amazon One at the two Seattle-based Amazon Go stores if you want to try it out.
This isn’t the first time biometric technology has been incorporated into the shopping process, though. Kim recently spoke about people in Sweden getting implanted microchips for shopping, employee sign-ins, and other day-to-day tasks in her Tech You Should Know podcast. Check it out here:
Other ways to shop safely
Since Amazon One won’t be rolling out to other retailers just yet, it’s important to keep your shopping transactions safe during this pandemic. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to do that.
Your phone and smartwatch are two safe ways to make contactless payments via Google or Apple Pay, even if they aren’t as cool as waving your palm over a reader and walking away with your items. You can also use tap-to-pay enabled credit cards if you aren’t in an area where contactless payments are common.
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To identify POS machines that accept tap-to-pay, look for a symbol with four lines that look like a Wi-Fi symbol. That means you can use contactless pay at that terminal.
Other retailers, like Walmart+, have incorporated Scan and Go, which allows you to use your phone to complete your purchase as you shop. You just scan the barcodes as you add items to your cart and then pay before leaving the store — no checkout lane required. Tap or click here to try Walmart+ for free.