Amazon offers a tempting solution, but it’s hardly futureproof
Amazon, the huge online retailer that – until now – has managed to stay away from a logical expansion into the payments market. While you’d think that Amazon would have opted for a mobile wallet service to help with mCommerce on the site, or tie in with their one-click ordering system, it has actually decided that the mPOS market is where the money is.
So, this means that it’s now going up against the likes of Square, PayPal, iZettle, and the many others on the market. Naturally, Amazon Local Register has brand clout as a distinct advantage over others, and with an attractive transaction rate of 1.75 per cent for merchants who sign up by October 31st, it should gain traction rather quickly.
Heck, even after the promotional offer ends – and the promo period finishes at the end of 2015, it’s still got the edge over the competition with a 2.5 per cent transaction rate. Essentially, it’s the Amazon of payments terminals – undercutting major outlets and offering a similar, if not better, service.
This is all well and good, it offers a decent service and price point, but it comes at the cost of long-term foresight.
While merchants only pay $10 for the device, with a $10 rebate happening a little later on, the low cost means that Amazon’s Local Register doesn’t support EMV. Now, seeing as this is going to be a solution that is clearly sticking around past the US deadline to make the switchover, the terminal really only has a limited lifespan.
Seeing as Square announced they’d be bringing EMV technology to their new reader in the form of supporting Chip and Signature, it seems like a very curious omission.
“While this card reader does not have EMV capability, we are looking forward to getting customer feedback and will continue to monitor industry requirements to ensure we are meeting those needs and creating solutions that help our customers,” said an Amazon representative in an email to Mobile Payments Today.
But is that really good enough?
I mean, in all honesty, Amazon is generally regarded as a forward-thinking company, so in ignoring the need for EMV compliance in their product from the get go seems like an oversight. It’s either that, or a way to penetrate the market with an affordable offering, then raise prices once people are in the loop when they release a device that also supports EMV.
It’s a way, at least, to minimise the cost of the unit. But as Amazon tends to operate on slim margins, perhaps making a loss would have been worth it to increase adoption and then make it back in transaction fees?
And what about including some sort of NFC device too to sweeten the deal? It makes sense for them to bring in adoption of multiple technologies into a low cost device so to future proof themselves.
But maybe, just maybe, they’re just playing it safe for their first time on the market.