Hand it over: Amazon working on palm-reading payment

hand scanner
Amazon is developing a new payment method. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Forgetful shoppers might not have to worry about getting all the way to the front of the checkout line and realizing they forget their wallet in the car for much longer. Amazon is working on a palm-scanning payment method.

Amazon is apparently developing a payment system that “reads” the wrinkles and veins on a person’s hand, connects it with their account and deducts money from their payment source. That’s according to the technology news website Mashable, which cites reports in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post.

An Amazon patent filed in 2018 detailed a “non-contact biometric identification system” — in other words, shoppers don’t touch a screen, but stick their hand in the vicinity of the scanner, which gathers the information instantly.

Currently, Amazon Go stores are cashierless, but customers must swipe an app to check out. Under the hand-scanning system, that step would be eliminated.

The system could be used at other stores. It’s expected to be used at Amazon-owned stores like Whole Foods.

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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