Amazon.com may not operate brick & mortar stores, but the e-tailing giant is looking to establish a presence at retail with a new credit and debit card reader and app for businesses.
Amazon Local Register, as it is called, was unveiled yesterday and in true Amazon fashion the new point of sale system is priced below the competition. The reader is priced at $10 and participating merchants who sign up before October 31 will be charged 1.75 percent on all swipes until January 1, 2016. Amazon's standard swipe rate will be 2.5 percent compared to the 2.75 percent charged by PayPal and Square. Funds from transactions are deposited directly into a bank account within one business day and made available on Amazon within minutes.
Businesses that use the reader will also have the first $10 in transactions fees credited back to their accounts, making the device essentially free to acquire. Those that buy the reader will also receive free two-day delivery of the device.
"From clothing stores to contractors, food trucks to accountants, businesses and organizations using Amazon Local Register will enjoy industry-leading low rates, trusted and secure payment processing, and access to award-winning customer support," said Matt Swann, vice president of Amazon Local Commerce, in a statement. "We understand that every penny and every minute counts, so we want to make accepting payments so easy and inexpensive that it no longer gets in the way of a business owner doing what they love – serving their customers and growing their business."
Amazon's reader is compatible with smartphones and tablets, including Apple devices running iOS7, Kindle Fire tablets and some Android phones. While not presently compatible with Amazon's new Fire phone, it will be shortly.
With all the apparent positives associated with Amazon's reader, some may still hesitate to join a service offered by an erstwhile competitor. Amazon is also offering reporting features with Local Register, including sales trends, peak sale periods, etc. Having access to this information will not only enable Amazon to see how consumers shop online, but gain greater insights into brick & mortar operations, as well.
How likely is Local Register to be successful for Amazon?