Amazon quietly releases payment app
Amazon quietly introduced its first digital wallet for mobile payments last week – so quietly, in fact, that few people realized it was available until now.
The mobile wallet, in which online shoppers store payment information, is Amazon’s effort to compete with similar services from Google, eBay’s PayPal (EBAY) and Apple’s Passbook (AAPL). But it falls well short in terms of functionality.
Amazon’s app, which premiered on Thursday, currently lets users only upload gift and store loyalty cards. Users can’t yet make mobile payments using credit or debit cards like rivals.
The app will come pre-intstalled on Amazon’s (AMZN) new Fire Phone, which will start shipping on Friday.
“Use the Amazon Wallet app to simplify your shopping trips, and never lose another gift card or rewards membership number,” the product description on Amazon’s website says. “Scan or type your gift cards, loyalty cards and membership cards to your Amazon Wallet to reduce the clutter in your leather wallet or purse.”
But not just yet.
Interestingly, while no reviews appear on the company’s website, there were already 11 on Google Play as of Tuesday. Despite its limited capabilities, nine five-star reviews praise the fledgling app that still seems to have a ways to go to make a dent in the mobile payment market.
A representative from Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fortune, but told TechCrunch that “in addition to being pre-installed on Fire Phone, we are offering a beta version of the Amazon Wallet app for Android phones in the Amazon Appstore and on Google Play. We look forward to getting customer feedback on the beta app.”