Hand-Scanning Could Be The Next Payment System Introduced By Amazon
Nothing in life comes freely it seems, and not surprisingly, the process of payment has become the subject of great fascination for tech companies around the world. The self-service check out ruffled feathers at first, as cashiers bristled at the thought of a system that required no human interaction. But then came the tech companies like Apple and Google that allowed customers to leave their wallet behind, purchasing their goods with a mere tap of the phone or flick of the wrist.
But that all pales in comparison to Amazon’s latest endeavour: hand-scanning. Yep, the tech giant is on the quest to make a hand-based payment system a reality. This would see credit cards or account information linked to our palms, meaning that when it came time to check out, all we’d need to do is put out our hand, scan it, and hope our balance is in order to see the transaction go through.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon will also seek to sell the pay-by-hand kiosks to other businesses that deal with regular customers (think coffee shops, fast-food restaurants and local eateries). This would see customers use their palm print to pay, with the terminals linking their hand-scan to a credit or debit card.
Amazon first filed a patent in 2018 for a “non-contact biometric identification system” that “includes a hand scanner that generates images of a user’s palm. Images are acquired using light of a first polarisation at a first time show surface characteristics such as wrinkles in the palm while images acquired using light of a second polarisation at a second time show deeper characteristics such as veins.”
As the publication explains, “Amazon envisions that customers would first use the terminals to link their debit or credit card information to their hands. Customers might insert cards into a terminal and then let the terminal scan their hands. From then on, they would only need to place a hand over the terminal to pay at a participating merchant.”
The news first came back in September 2019, when the New York Post reported on a hand-scanning check-out system that would be introduced to Amazon-owned stores like Whole Foods. According to the Post, the scanning system would reduce checkout time to a mere 300 milliseconds.
It’s certainly an interesting concept, if not one that might incite fury from cashiers the world over as human jobs yet again look to be taken over by state-of-the-art technology. But if the implementation of self-service checkouts at grocery stores is anything to go by, customers are all too willing to forego human interaction and find alternative ways to pay if it makes for a faster, more efficient process. That said, Amazon’s pay-by-hand ambitions are still in the earliest stages of development and it will be some time before we see such desires turn into a lived reality.