Amazon One, the palm-scanning payment technology developed by Amazon, is introducing a new feature that includes age verification services. The company announced that customers using Amazon One devices will be able to purchase adult beverages, such as beers at sports events, simply by hovering their palm over the Amazon One device. Coors Field, the home stadium of the Colorado Rockies MLB team, will be the first venue to support this feature, with additional venues to follow in the coming months.
Introduced in 2020, Amazon’s biometric payment technology generates a unique palm print for each customer, associating it with a credit card or an Amazon account. The palm print images are encrypted and stored securely in the AWS cloud. To use the system, customers hold their hand over a reader that identifies various aspects of their palm, including lines, ridges, and vein patterns, to establish their identity.
While Amazon claims that it does not use or sell customer information for advertising purposes, the combination of biometrics, payment card details, and Amazon accounts has the potential for highly personalized ads and recommendations. However, the company asserts that palm reading is a more private form of biometrics as someone’s identity cannot be determined solely by their palm images. It is important to note that Amazon creates a customer database that matches palm images with other information.
The Amazon One system was initially available at Amazon’s own retail locations and has since expanded to sports stadiums, entertainment venues, convenience stores, and travel retailers. To enable age verification, customers can update their ID on the Amazon One website by uploading photos of their government-issued ID and a selfie for verification. Once the customer’s age is confirmed, they can purchase adult beverages by scanning their palm, eliminating the need to present ID.
While retailers may appreciate the technology for its potential to speed up checkouts and increase sales, concerns about privacy have been raised since its introduction. Critics worry about the sharing of palmprint data with government agencies and the security of stored data. Nevertheless, Amazon continues to expand Amazon One, with recent partnerships including Panera Bread.
The introduction of age verification functionality to Amazon One aligns with evolving consumer preferences for faster service models and enhances the overall guest experience at venues like Coors Field. As Amazon moves forward with its expansion plans, it faces ongoing scrutiny and legal challenges related to privacy and compliance with biometric surveillance laws.