October 8, 2013, 3:57 PM

Amazon launches payments for other e-commerce sites

‘Login and Pay with Amazon,’ offers payment processing for participating retailers.

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Amazon.com Inc. has launched a service that enables its customers to pay on other e-commerce sites via their Amazon account data.

Called ‘Login and Pay with Amazon,’ the service sells payment processing for participating retailers. Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.  

“Amazon has more than 215 million active customer accounts,” says Tom Taylor, vice president, Amazon Payments. “Login and Pay with Amazon enables companies to make millions of our customers their customers by inviting online shoppers with Amazon credentials to access their account information safely and securely with a single login.”

The Amazon payment service works on personal computers, smartphones and tablets. Site developers employ Amazon widgets and APIs, or application programming interfaces.

“Login and Pay with Amazon helps replace guest checkouts with recognized customers, leading to improved services which could include: managing and tracking orders, purchase history detail, special discounts, instant access to shipping addresses and payment methods,” Amazon says.

Amazon says it will not share customers’ credit card information gained via the payment tool, and that it will cover purchases made through the service in the same way purchases are covered from Amazon.com.

Amazon previously called its payment service Checkout by Amazon, but rebranded it Amazon Payments. In May, Internet Retailer wrote about Autoplicity.com's experiences adding the Amazon payment tool. More information can be found here.

“I see this [newly launched] service as more of a repackaging of Checkout by Amazon than as something new,” says Beth Robertson, a payments industry analyst. “Amazon has been a challenger to PayPal for some time in the Internet payments arena, but PayPal has the dominant market share. One key reason is that PayPal is not viewed as a direct competitor to the merchants it serves while Amazon often is.”

PayPal, part of eBay Inc., is the clear leader in so-called alternative payments, used by 84% of consumers who pay online with alternatives to payment cards, according to a report earlier this year from Javelin Strategy & Research that was written by Robertson. The report, based on a 2012 survey, also showed that 42% of consumers pay with credit cards when making online retail and travel purchases, up from 40% in the 2011 survey, and 29% pay with debit cards, down from 30%.

The new Amazon service is a “great deal more than a warmed-over Checkout,” says George Peabody, senior director of payments consulting firm Glenbrook Partners LLC.

He points out that the number of Amazon’s active accounts is much more than the active users of all eBay’s payment services. Including consumers with PayPal or Bill Me Later accounts, that base totaled 132.4 million in the second quarter, up nearly 17% from 113.2 million a year earlier, according to eBay.  And Amazon’s customers trust the security of making payments through the e-retailer, and have grown accustomed to the convenience of doing so, he says.

“For e-retailers, it’s yet another payment method they might want to evaluate,” he says. “Amazon is a damn big brand. If you bring that many users along with [the payment service], then e-retailers will give it serious consideration. It will give PayPal some competition.”




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