Amazon taking a swipe at mobile payments

August 13, 2014, 12:31 PM UTC
Photo courtesy of Amazon is taking a swipe at mobile payments, announcing the debut of a card reader and mobile app that can be used by businesses to process transactions through mobile devices. The new platform is called Amazon Local Register, which the online retailing giant promises will provide secure services at “industry-leading low rates.” Mobile payments are turning into a big business, as more consumers and businesses use smartphones and tablets to process transactions. Global mobile payment transaction volume was expected to swell to $235.4 billion last year from $163.1 billion in 2012, according to data compiled by Statista. The figure is seen jumping to $721 billion by 2017. One of the most high-profile mobile payment startups that Amazon (AMZN) is looking to challenge is Square, a startup led by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. Square is fast growing but hasn’t yet turned a profit. The company is known for a high-profile deal with Starbucks (SBUX), though Fortune reported earlier this year that the deal has failed to meet expectations. Amazon’s move into the mobile payments world isn’t exactly a stretch: it is a hybrid of the company’s traditional online retailing business and recent efforts to tap the tech world by selling tablets and smartphones. Amazon is giving those who sign up early to the card reader service an introduction promotional rate of 1.75% per card swipe on all major credit and debit cards through the beginning of 2016, and Amazon says the service comes with a free mobile app as well as in-app tracking tools. More details can be found here.