Amazon Pay, which is more than a decade old, can already be used to shop online at several thousand third-party merchants. But now the firm is looking to make it to the real world, according to the WSJ, citing sources. It is already talking to gas stations, restaurants and other merchants that do not consider the behemoth a direct competitor about accepting the payment option in-store, promising low processing fees.
The Journal does not say how the mobile payments system would work, whether it would be NFC-based like Apple Pay and Google Pay, or perhaps utilise QR codes, which are hugely popular in China.
The ecommerce specialist has recently rolled out the first of its own brick-and-mortar Amazon Go stores. These have no cashiers, instead using "just walk out" technology, which taps sensors and cameras to track what items customers take from the shelves and then automatically charges through an app.
The move would be another example of Amazon blurring the boundaries between retail and financial services. In March reports surfaced that it had begun talking to banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Capital One, about developing a checking account-style product for its millions of customers. Such a move could shake up the industry, according to a recent survey from Bain which found that 65% of Prime subscribers would be prepared to open a bank account with the e-commerce giant.
While Amazon enjoys high satisfaction levels among users, one area that could see its forays into payments and FS services stymied is security and privacy - something that might be affected by news today that the firm has exposed some customer email addresses because of a "technical error" on its site.
Days ahead of Black Friday, Amazon wrote to those affected: "We’re contacting you to let you know that our website inadvertently disclosed your email address due to a technical error...The issue has been fixed. This is not a result of anything you have done, and there is no need for you to change your password or take any other action."