Amazon.com Inc. introduced a $10 credit card reader and mobile platform for business on Wednesday, penetrating further physical store retail and the quickly changing mobile payments scene.
The development puts the online retailer against a number of competitors such as Startup Square, which promoted use of a card swiper that that can be connected to a smartphone or tablet, allowing small-and medium-sized businesses to accept credit and debit payments.
The launched point-of-sale platform, called Amazon Local Register, has capacity to supply Amazon with data on how US consumers make purchases in brick and mortar stores, analysts say. More than 90% of US retail purchases happen offline, according to US government data.
Amazon spokeswoman on Wednesday said that all customer data on Amazon Local Register would be securely protected and would not be merely utilized for fraud protection and risk control.
“There may be some hesitation among merchants to process payments through Amazon due to data sharing or competitive concerns,” analyst Colin Sebastian of R.W. Baird is quoted by Reuters as saying on Wednesday.
The biggest tech companies such as Apple Inc. and Google Inc. may also crank up their investments in mobile transactions, which is picking up as use of smartphones spreads everywhere.
Amazon plans to entice small firms, partly by charging lower rates than Square and PayPal, which is owned by eBay Inc. Customers who embrace the Amazon’s new mobile payment platform before October 31 will be charged 1.75% per card swipe until January 2016.
Customers who will sign up after October will pay 2.5% for every card swipe, which is still less than the 2.75% flat transaction rate charged by Square and PayPal’s 2.7%.
“Payments are hard and that’s one of the things that gets in the way of serving customers, especially for small businesses,” vice president of Amazon’s local commerce Matt Swann is reported by Bloomberg as having said.
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