Amazon will let customers at some Whole Foods stores pay with simple wave of their hands.
The company announced Wednesday it is bringing palm scanners to one of its Whole Foods stores in Seattle, with plans to roll out the new payment system to eight stores in the Seattle area in the coming months. Customers will hold their hands above the scanner for a contact-free payment method.
The scanners are already available at one of those Seattle stores – its Madison Broadway location. Amazon plans to expand availability further after this initial test run.
“We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the shopping experience for our customers,” said Arun Rajan, chief technology officer at Whole Foods.
To use the service, customers will give Whole Foods their credit or debit card information to link their palm print. They can chose to use a different payment method, such as cash, check or other credit card, in subsequent visits.
Amazon (AMZN) has already tried the system, which it calls Amazon (AMZN) One, at some of its own Amazon (AMZN)-branded stores in Seattle, including Amazon (AMZN) Go and Amazon (AMZN) Go Grocery, which have allow customers to pick the items they want and then leave the store without checking out, as sensors and cameras track their purchases.
That checkout-free technology has been criticized as a way to eliminate the need for workers by Amazon, which just won a bitter union representation vote at an Alabama warehouse.
Whole Foods said this new palm scanner will not have any effect on employment in the stores where it is offered.
“Amazon One is an additional payment option at checkout, and Whole Foods Market Team Members will continue to maintain all of their current responsibilities,” said the company’s statement.