Barrons is all breathless about Amazon getting ready to step up its game in the payments arena. Eric Savits writes:
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Derek Brown asserts in a research note this afternoon that Amazon “may soon launch a PayPal-esque Payments service for use by consumers and merchants across the Web, potentially siphoning growth and/or profit from eBay’s crown jewel.” Brown says that Amazon could launch such a service as soon as late summer or early fall of this year.
But wait. Amazon already competes with eBay’s PayPal. It’s called Amazon Payments and it lets you:
—send money to anyone’s email address or mobile phone.
—make online purchases at other participating Websites
—buy Amazon products using your mobile phone.
It launched the current version of Amazon Payments last year. Also, last year Amazon launched its Flexible Payment Service as a Web service in limited beta so that developers could integrate Amazon’s checkout into their own sites (customers use their Amazon login, and the Website gets paid by Amazon, after a fee).
The article notes that both of these services exist, but does not explain how Amazon could go beyond their current offerings. So it is not exactly clear what further steps Amazon will take to beef up its current Amazon Payments service into a full-fledged competitor to PayPal. In terms of functionality, it is already pretty close. It even looks the same as PayPal. (Click on screen shot above).
Even if it does push the service harder, Amazon won’t find it easy to displace PayPal, which is deeply entrenched as one of the preferred payment mechanisms on the Web. But competition does keep everyone honest. So good luck to Amazon.