December 2, 2023

Starbucks is piloting Amazon One, Amazon’s biometric payment system, in Seattle.

Specifically, the trial is currently underway in Edmonds, Washington, just north of Seattle.The average customer is about 45 years old, “about 10 years older than the average Seattle resident,” Forbes Report.

There’s a reason the coffee giant is testing this new contactless payment method at this particular location. Unlike younger generations, older consumers are less likely to gravitate toward payment methods they may not be familiar with, such as biometrics.

Starbucks employees in Edmonds, Washington, saw just as much, according to Forbes. Initial reactions to the palm payment system were met with uncertainty among older consumers, and overall sentiment towards the system was mixed.

Palm payment

Understandably, asking consumers to pay with their palms — especially when many are just getting used to paying with their mobile devices — can be a difficult thing to fathom. But the accelerating development of biometrics, its potential to impact the payments landscape, and the investments retailers and brands are investing in the technology also suggest that biometric payment systems are not going away.

With any type of payment method, there is always a learning curve. With Amazon One, Amazon aims to simplify the process and make it as convenient as possible for shoppers to go to a kiosk and pay for their items. Consumers are first encouraged to sign up for the system through the Amazon One website or at an Amazon One kiosk. Upon arriving at the kiosk, consumers scan the barcode, which is then scanned with their palms.

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In March, Panera Bread signed on to be the first restaurant to roll out Amazon One at its cafes, testing the system at two locations in St. Louis and likely planning to expand to other markets in the coming months.

Similarly, last month, Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market announced that shoppers will be able to pay for products with the palm of their hand at 11 of its Colorado stores.

We look forward to more retailers partnering with Amazon and utilizing its biometric payment system. While paying with the palm may not replace cash, credit cards or even mobile payments anytime soon, if consumers find this payment method convenient and useful, then we will see wider adoption.