Amazon has reportedly begun testing a new payment method that will be used in Whole Foods supermarkets across the United States.
According to information gathered by The New York Post, the tech, which scans human hands to ring up purchases, has been in use in Amazon's offices in New York. Employees use the biometric technology to buy sodas, chips, and granola bars from vending machines.
Amazon's Hand Scanner Payment System
Unlike fingerprint scanners found in mobile devices today, Amazon's new payment system — codenamed Orville — would not require customers to touch the scanning surface. It uses computer vision and depth geometry to identify the shape and size of each hand it scans before charging the purchases to the shopper's credit card.
The hand scanners will be hooked to Amazon Prime accounts of customers so they can use the credit or debit cards already on file.
The payment system can process the transaction within 300 milliseconds. In comparison, normal card transactions take around 3 or 4 seconds.
According to the New York Post's unnamed sources, the payment has an accuracy within one ten-thousandth of 1 percent. However, engineers are hoping to improve the accuracy to a millionth of 1 percent before launch.
The online shopping company is planning to introduce Orville to a handful of Whole Foods locations by early 2020. If it is declared a success, the payment system will be rolled out to all Whole Foods stores across the United States.
The rollout will depend on the amount of time needed to install the payment system in stores and train the employees to use it.
A spokesperson for Amazon refused to comment about the rumor.
Going Cashless, Faster Checkout
This is not the first time that the company founded by Jeff Bezos has made efforts to revolutionize shopping. In 2016, it introduced Amazon Go, a chain of convenience stores wherein customers check in at turnstiles with their phones, grab whatever they want, and walk out. No cash registers were present at the stores.
However, state governments pushed back. They banned cashless stores, saying these discriminate against lower income shoppers who do not have bank accounts or credit cards. Amazon Go stores now accept cash payments.