Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN:US) is making an entrance in the mobile-checkout market, taking on startups such as Square Inc. as more local businesses seek to ease the process of accepting credit cards.
The world’s largest online retailer today unveiled Amazon Local Register, a free smartphone and tablet application and $10 card reader that plugs into a handheld device. The software will let merchants accept major debit and credit cards as well as check metrics such as sales trends and bottom-line performance, Amazon said today in a statement.
Amazon’s push into mobile point-of-sale systems is part of an effort to provide more services for small businesses, which it says number 26 million in the U.S. Amazon Local Register puts the Seattle-based company in direct competition with Square’s main product, while Groupon Inc. also recently unveiled a service for in-store payments and EBay Inc.’s PayPal offers a mobile card-swiping device for small merchants.
Merchants who buy Amazon’s reader and sign up before Oct. 31 will pay a 1.75 percent fee for each transaction through Jan. 1, 2016. After the promotional period, retailers will pay 2.5 percent on card transactions processed by Local Register. Square, by comparison, charges 2.75 percent for each swipe, and 3.5 percent plus 15 cents for each manually entered transaction.
Groupon in May released a new iPad-based system that lets local merchants accept credit-card payments, process coupons without a printed or digital voucher, and customize marketing campaigns for vendors to target specific customers.
All the mobile point-of-sale systems are challenging in-store hardware and software makers, such as VeriFone Systems Inc., Salesforce.com Inc. and Oracle Corp.’s planned acquisition Micros Systems Inc., for customers in local commerce.
Amazon shares rose 3.6 percent to $330.81 at 10:56 a.m. in New York. Through yesterday, the stock had declined (AMZN:US) 20 percent this year after climbing 59 percent in 2013.
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