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Panera Bread will let you pay using Amazon’s palm-scanning tech

Panera Bread will let you pay using Amazon’s palm-scanning tech


Panera is deploying Amazon One, a payment service that allows customers to pay and collect membership rewards by scanning their palms.

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Illustration of Amazon’s logo on a black, orange, and tan background.
Customers can link their MyPanera membership to the Amazon One service to collect rewards and pay for purchases in a single action.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Amazon has announced that Amazon One — the e-commerce giant’s palm-reading payment technology — will be deployed at Panera Bread locations around the US. The restaurant chain will be the first to leverage Amazon One’s new loyalty card linking capabilities, allowing customers to connect a MyPanera loyalty membership to their Amazon One account and collect rewards when paying for purchases with their palm.

Linking the two accounts is completely optional. Customers can decide to use Amazon One just for payments, just for loyalty rewards, or for both, though Amazon claims that linking a MyPanera membership will allow restaurant staff to greet customers by name and provide a “highly personalized experience.” Some folks (like myself) would find that a little jarring, but it also provides convenience — payment and loyalty rewards are handled simultaneously by just scanning your palm, removing the need to jump between different mobile apps and coupons at the checkout. Amazon One will initially launch at two Panera cafes in the St. Louis area and will roll out to additional restaurant locations “in the coming months.”

A new online pre-enrollment for Amazon One is also rolling out that slightly streamlines the signup process. Now, anyone with an Amazon account, mobile number, and a credit or debit card can start their Amazon One profile online, though customers will still need to complete their enrollment at a physical location that offers the Amazon One service.

Amazon introduced its biometric payment tech to Amazon Go stores in 2020 during the covid pandemic, claiming that palm recognition not only allowed the system to be completely contactless but also that it was also “more private” than alternative biometrics. Since then, Amazon One has rolled out to other Amazon-owned locations like Amazon Go and Whole Foods, as well as locations at a handful of sports arenas, like T-Mobile Park.

Experts have expressed some skepticism about Amazon’s privacy claims given its track record. Just last week, CNBC reported that Amazon was being sued for not informing Amazon Go customers in New York City that they were being monitored by facial recognition technology. Amazon One’s palm-scanning system does offer some conveniences, but it’s worth remembering this isn’t just a payment technology — it’s an identity recognition technology.