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'Amazon One' Contactless Payment Palm Reader Debuts On Santana Row In San Jose

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- Online shopping giant Amazon is ramping up deployment of its non-contact payment dubbed, "Amazon One," announcing more than 60 locations from New York to California will feature the touchless devices.

The first such system debuted in the Bay Area at the Amazon store in San Jose on Santana Row, Tuesday morning.

At the cashier, customers were asked "Will you be paying with your palm today," and subsequently directed to sign up at the register. Customers insert a credit card, and are instructed to hold their right hand over the sensor three inches above the dark lens. Purple-colored LEDs can be seen flashing, capturing images of the customers lines, contours and network of veins. The customer has the option to scan their left hand, and after entering a cell phone number, the sign-in process is typically complete within a minute.

Amazon "uses custom-built algorithms and hardware to create a person's unique palm signature." According to a company statement, designers chose the palm since it would considered "more private than some biometric alternatives," such as thumbprint or face scans.

After a slow, year-long rollout, the devices can now be found at Amazon's various brick-and-mortar locations, including Whole Foods. The company has also installed the palm reader at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver, where concert-goers can scan their palm in lieu of using paper or mobile ticketing.

Tommy Alas signed up at the Santana Row location, making him the first to do so in Northern California.

"I think it's a very cool, very convenient form of payment. Just quick and easy," said Alas.

Liz Gonzalez, visiting from Denver, was the second person to sign up and praised the system's convenience.

"People like me, I'm very forgetful, always forgetting my credit card or my watch. So now, I don't need to remember to bring my palm!" said Gonzalez.

Ian Sherr, CNet Editor-At-Large, said early indications are showing the system to be safe and reliable. Amazon's challenge now is to increase adoption of the new technology and overcome long-held habits of using debit or credit cards.

"The reality is that a lot of introducing new technology is convincing people to use it. How much easier is it to use than just pulling out my credit card and paying that way?" said Sherr. "But we Americans are very hesitant to jump on this stuff. And so, I am curious to see whether or not it's really going anywhere with us, or whether we're going to wait until some other technology comes along."

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