Recent reports speculating that Amazon would jump into mobile payments have proven correct, after details of Amazon Local Register — the company’s take on Square and PayPal’s card readers — surfaced online.
The device is shown in an Amazon YouTube video — first spotted by Engadget — while there’s a dedicated section on Amazon.com.
The company hasn’t officially announced the product, but all the important details are out there in full public view. Update: the company just announced it officially.
Amazon’s service charges just 1.75 percent on each swipe which undercuts rivals Square (2.75 percent) and PayPal Here (2.7 percent), although that is an “introductory offer” that is valid only until 1 January 2016.
The companion mobile app is available for iOS ( iPhone 4 upwards, and iPad), selected Android phones (initially just Samsung’s Galaxy S range) and Amazon’s own Kindle Fire HD tablets. The company’s new Fire Phone is not on the list at this point.
The card reader itself retails for $10 on Amazon, and the company is offering to refund buyers $10 from their transaction fees.
Like Amazon’s new Prime Music service, Amazon Local Register is initially for the US only. Given that Amazon is making a big push retail worldwide — it just invested $2 billion in India, for example — it stands to reason that it is keen to expand the service into global markets sooner rather than later.
Red tape and localization challenges have confined Square to the US, Canada and Japan for now. PayPal here is available in the US and UK, while there are plenty of alternative serving Europe, including iZettle and Rocket Internet-backed PayLeven.