Amazon Unveils Payment By Hand-Waving

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 28, 2011 the Amazon logo is seen on a podium during a press conference in New York.  Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP


Amazon on Tuesday unveiled a new biometric payment system using palm recognition, to be made available to rival retailers and also promoted as a replacement for badge entry at stadiums or workplaces.

The system called Amazon One was touted as “a fast, convenient, contactless way for people to use their palm to make everyday activities like paying at a store, presenting a loyalty card, entering a location like a stadium, or badging into work more effortless.”

The US technology giant said it would be installing the system at its Amazon Go retail locations, starting with two stores in its hometown of Seattle, Washington.

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Amazon vice president Dilip Kumar said the system was developed as “a quick, reliable, and secure way for people to identify themselves or authorize a transaction while moving seamlessly through their day.”

Amazon One uses each individual’s “unique palm signature,” an alternative to other biometric identifiers such as fingerprint, iris or facial recognition.

“No two palms are alike, so we analyze all these aspects with our vision technology and select the most distinct identifiers on your palm to create your palm signature,” Kumar said in a blog post.

In Amazon Go stores, the palm-waving system will be added to the store’s entry gate as an option for shoppers.

“In most retail environments, Amazon One could become an alternate payment or loyalty card option with a device at the checkout counter next to a traditional point of sale system,” Kumar added.

The company said it was “in active discussions with several potential customers,” which could include other retailers, but offered no details.

Biometric blues

The announcement comes amid rapid growth in the use of biometric payments ranging from fingerprint verification on smartphones to more sophisticated systems using facial recognition.

China’s Alipay — the financial arm of ecommerce giant Alibaba — has been using a “Smile-to-Pay” system, with a machine roughly the size of an iPad, for retailers.

The shift has also raised privacy concerns about how biometric data will be safeguarded and protected from hackers.

Amazon workers arrive at the company's centre in Bretigny-sur-Orge on May 19, 2020 as Amazon France partially reopens amid the pandemic of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Eric PIERMONT / AFP
Amazon workers arrive at the company’s centre in Bretigny-sur-Orge on May 19, 2020 as Amazon France partially reopens amid the pandemic of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Eric PIERMONT / AFP


Amazon said the biometric data would be “protected by multiple security controls and palm images are never stored on the Amazon One device” but send to a “highly secure area we custom-built in the cloud.”

Doug Stephens of the consulting firm Retail Prophet, said Amazon would need to protect the data to gain user trust in the system to make it mainstream.

“Biometrics as a form of ID/payment etc. has always made ultimate sense,” Stephens said on Twitter. “The question is, will Amazon mainstream our comfort with them or violate our trust?”



Nigeria’s Apex Bank Seeks Deeper Adoption Of E-payment System

E-payment system in Nigeria POS-card-machineThe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) have further thrown their weight behind the cashless policy, with the ongoing Electronic Payment Incentive Scheme (EPIS).

During the redemption of prizes in Kaduna for the first 10 winners for the month of September and October, the Deputy Governor of the CBN, Suleiman Barau, said the apex bank would keep giving the desired support to the EPIS project.

He pointed out that E-payment banking would help in revolutionising Nigeria’s economic development and enhancing efficiency in business.

While commending the process used in selecting the winners, Mr Barau added that the cash-less banking initiative was helping to promote financial inclusion and getting banking to the grassroots.

Cash Reward Raffle Draw

The Managing Director of NIBSS, Business Development, Mr Folashodun Shonubi, explained that the introduction of the nation-wide incentive scheme was primarily focused on rewarding users of electronic payment in Nigeria and to further encourage greater adoption by all.

He added that there had been increase of transactions through Point Of Sales (POS) platforms since the inception of the Electronic Banking.

The Electronic Payment Incentive Scheme idea was first conceived in March 2013 driven by the Central Bank of Nigeria and NIBSS amongst other key stakeholders.

In other to spice up a reasonable level of awareness and excitement in anticipation of the Loyalty Program for consumers and salespersons, the CBN in collaboration with NIBSS proposed a Monthly Raffle Draw Initiative targeted at all card users within the Nigerian e-payment ecosystem.

At the Kaduna office of the CBN, the winners for the months of September and October, who were selected across Nigeria, were presented with a cash reward.

To qualify for this draw, all winners are expected to have a valid Biometric Verification Number for the authentication of their various bank accounts.

The scheme also has the support of the Consumer Protection Council and National Lottery Regulatory Commission.

The Kaduna State coordinator of the commission, Baba Adamu, applauded the initiative, describing the process as transparent and unquestionable.

One of the recipients, Omolara Odunusu, expressed happiness for the reward and commended the CBN for the gesture

The CBN E-payment Incentive Scheme Raffle Draw involves a customer using his or her ATM card to make payments on POS to enable such customer qualify for the Cash Reward Raffle Draw.

The benefits of the scheme according to the CBN management, include saving man hours wasted in moving cash about, guaranteeing the safety of the customer in carrying money about as well as saving the apex bank from printing new currencies frequently.