Amazon To Launch Subscription-Based Billing And Recurring Payments Service

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Amazon is introducing a new payments service today, which the company hopes will soon be adopted by startup companies and others offering subscription-based or recurring payments, according to a report from Reuters out this morning, and Amazon now confirms. The service will allow these businesses to tap into Amazon’s over 240 million monthly active users who currently store their credit card information on Amazon.com, then pay for things ranging from music subscriptions to monthly phone bills.

The report indicated that the service has already been in testing with a number of startup companies over the last few months, including mobile phone company Ting, owned by Tucows. And PeachDish.com is another early tester. However, the feature will be offered toward any mobile or web company using this kind of payment option to generate revenue, Amazon tells TechCrunch.

The move would put Amazon in closer competition with eBay’s PayPal as well as companies like Braintree, Google Wallet or Stripe, all of which offer subscription billing and recurring payments services to their own customers. It’s also a notable step for Amazon in terms of taking better advantage of the consumer data it has on file to establish a new revenue stream – Amazon will charge a fee on each transaction that comes through the service, like most of its competitors.

Amazon has previously taken steps to compete with PayPal and others when it introduced its ‘Login and Pay with Amazon’ service last fall that allows partner sites to include a payments button that lets customers easily pay using their credit or debit card information on file with Amazon.com while on a third-party website’s checkout screen. The service also combined Amazon’s then new relatively new login services option to create a one-stop-shop for web payments.

Today’s launch of the new subscription billing feature is an extension of these earlier efforts, Amazon tells us, as it will be a feature offered within ‘Login and Pay with Amazon,’ as opposed to a standalone offering. The move sees Amazon setting itself up to further extend itself into areas dominated by PayPal and others. And it arrives just ahead of the planned launch of Amazon’s first smartphone, expected to be revealed on June 18.

That means mobile app makers offering subscription-based services, like a music subscription or video service and more could also potentially take advantage of this new option by the time the phone goes to launch.

Customers who choose to use Amazon for recurring payments will be able to do so with just a few taps, the company notes. They can then track payments, view authorized billing relationships and manage them on the Amazon Payments website. They can also edit payment information for the merchants they have authorized.

Amazon vice president of seller services Tom Taylor essentially confirmed this to Reuters, too, saying “we hope whoever the next Spotify out there is thinking about Amazon.” He also noted that subscription billing will be one of many areas Amazon will expand into in the future, referring to these new verticals vaguely as things “where people might think about Amazon helping them.”