Amazon’s biometric scanners: the future of payments?

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It was reported last week that Amazon is working on payment terminals that allow users to pay with biometric data from their handprint.

No, not the sci-fi novels or a prototype imagined in the bowels of Amazon headquarters, but rather the latest disruptive foray into the financial services industry of one of the Big Five tech companies.

According to a January 19 Wall Street Journal article, Amazon is developing new payment terminals to allow shoppers to link their payment card to their handprint. This would allow, it was claimed, payment in stores compatible with a simple passage of the hand over a scanner.

Development of the technology is in its early stages, but it has been reported that the company has already started collaborating with Visa and Mastercard on the proposed technology. Along with this, it was claimed that Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and Synchrony Financial also viewed their cardholder accounts to be tech-related.

Amazon filed a patent for the technology on December 26 last year, describing it as a “contactless biometric identification system. [that] includes a hand-held scanner that generates images of a user’s palm “. particular user with an associated account”.

Amazon and financial technology

The fintech industry is familiar ground for Amazon, the company having key financial pillars across payments, cash deposits and loans. Here’s a closer look:

  • Amazon Pay: a digital wallet for customers and a payment network for online and physical merchants and buyers.
  • Amazon Cash: Launched in April 2017 to allow customers to deposit money free of charge into a digital account. Users don’t need a bank account or phone to open an account, making it an attractive proposition for the unbanked or under-banked.
  • Amazon Lending: A program in which Amazon provides short-term commercial loans to qualified sellers so that they can fund additional inventory for sale in the Amazon Marketplace. Loans are by invitation only and amounts range from $ 1,000 to $ 750,000.

For more information on all FinTech related topics, please see the latest edition of FinTech Magazine.

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