Popular tech giant Amazon announces plans to link credit card credentials with biometric information of customers to enable super quick payments which could be the future of payments. Amazon is planning on placing checkout terminals in everyday stores that read the user’s palm and initiate purchases with the same. They recently filed a patent for a “non-contact biometric identification system”. It includes a scanner that generates images of the user’s palm with so much as that of a hand wave. This enables a user to pay for a purchase without having to carry a card, or even pull out the phone to make the payments.
The company plans to establish these payment terminals in places where customers do business very frequently, like fast-food restaurants, coffee shops, etc. On the first transaction, the user would first place their credit/debit card in the terminal, and then link his biometric information (palm scan) to it. On their following transactions, they would just have to place their hand at the terminal and the payment will be processed instantly.
They are supposedly testing these transactions with Visa and are in discussions about the same with Mastercard. According to some sources, Amazon is already in talks with JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., and Synchrony Financial to get this technology in all everyday-essentials stores.
The user data thus collected will be stored in Amazon’s cloud and will be analysed the same way as the user’s amazon purchases are. This can leverage amazon into being able to charge higher prices to advertisers for tailored ad content based on the interests of the specific user.
Amazon’s venture into the payments handling domain has not been as successful as the competition of late. They’ve been experimenting on cashless payments at Amazon Go stores, and they’ve introduced Amazon Pay, their digital wallet service. If they hit it off with this one, they will surpass the likes of Apple, Google and even the companies that encourage NFC for contactless payments.
As with any new tech that aims at a large leap, this too comes with MAJOR security concerns.
- Card companies have raised concerns about the potential fraud with the terminals, wherein a person may present a stolen card.
- Amazon suggests it could blacklist these users, but that’d still be not as secure as other payment methods.
- It might not be able to stop fraudulent users from making one time purchases.
- It is still unclear if Amazon intends to be a collaborator to the card companies or a competitor and this may worry about the companies.
- Another issue would be in managing multiple cards and users being able to choose what to pay with.
Given these, Amazon also has to find a way to encourage users to give more of their biometric information, and that is not very easily accepted by people today.