Amazon launches online payments services for merchants

Amazon launches online payments services for merchants

Internet retailer Amazon is taking on PayPal and Google in the e-payments market by launching two new services that enable online merchants to use its payments functionality on their e-commerce sites in the US.

The Seattle-based firm has launched 'Checkout' and 'Simple Pay' which enable other online retailers to offer customers an Amazon-like payments service on their own Web sites.

The Checkout service enables customers to use their Amazon account information to conduct transactions at non-Amazon sites without having to re-enter their shipping address or payment details.

In addition, sites that sign up for the service can offer their customers Amazon's 1-Click ordering system to calculate sales tax and shipping costs and let customers track shipments.

Simple Pay also lets customers use their account information for transactions on other Web sites, but the service doesn't support real-time shipping and tax calculation or order management tasks like cancellations, reports and shipment tracking.

Amazon says for payments over $10 it will charge 2.9% of the transaction fee plus 30 cents, although a discount scheme is in place for merchants that hit certain volumes each month.

Amazon is entering a lucrative but competitive market that is dominated by eBay-owned PayPal, which celebrated its tenth year in business last month.

PayPal says it now processes some $2000 in payments every second whilst transactions conducted via its system represent about nine per cent of e-commerce globally. The firm has more than 60 million active accounts in 190 countries and 17 currencies around the world.

In 2006 a rival service - Google Checkout - was launched, which allows customers to make purchases from Internet retailers without having to repeatedly enter credit card details.

Google later claimed to have signed up 20% of the Web's top 500 retailers for its service, although eBay banned sellers from using the service soon after it was launched.

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