Mobile payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay may be all the rage right now, but Amazon is hoping to make those payment methods look archaic by allowing anyone to pay for goods at brick-and-mortar stores simply by using their hand. That’s according to the Wall Street Journal, which says the company is creating checkout terminals that would allow people to scan their hand to pay for purchases at third-party retailers.
Here’s how it would work: Customers would use one of the terminals to set up their hand payment system by associating a payment card with their palm print. After that, a customer would never need to take out their payment card or mobile device to pay for goods again wherever a terminal is located. Instead, they could just scan their hand on the terminal and be on their way.
The WSJ says Amazon envisions having the terminal located in stores where people often frequent for repeat purchases, like coffee shops, fast-food joints, and grocery stores. I know—Amazon doesn’t own coffee shops or fast-food restaurants (they do own Whole Foods), so what benefit would Amazon get out of having their hand payment readers in third-party stores and retailers? Customer data about where, how often, and what people shop for, which Amazon would then use to better target those customers with ads for products they buy on the company’s website.
The fact that Amazon is working on hand-recognition payment technologies isn’t a complete surprise. Back in September, it was known that Amazon was working on similar hand payment terminals for use in its own Whole Foods stores. Now, it seems, Amazon sees better use for the terminals by having them in third-party retailers, which allows them to be able to collect much more of your personal shopping data.